The R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center has joined with the American Trauma Society (ATS) and several prestigious trauma organizations from across the country to develop and implement the Trauma Survivors Network (TSN). The network will provide a comprehensive program to help trauma centers provide support to patients and families throughout their recovery.
As a founding member of the network, Shock Trauma will offer a variety of special resources to patients and their families, including visits from former trauma patients, a family handbook, trauma support groups and a specially designed class to teach survivors how to manage their care after they leave the trauma center or rehabilitation facility.
“As it grows, the Trauma Survivors Network will give hospitals across the country new tools critical to rebuilding the lives of trauma survivors,” says Andrew N. Pollak, M.D., associate director of trauma at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center and associate professor and head of the Division of Orthopaedic Traumatology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “In addition to the highest quality of care to recover from their physical injuries, patients also need the support and hope that other trauma survivors can provide. This partnership with the American Trauma Society represents a new milestone in our ability to provide the best care to our patients.”
In a pilot phase, more than 300 patients at the Shock Trauma Center have received Trauma Survivor Network materials and participated in support programs. One key component is the peer visitation program, which gives current patients the opportunity to talk with trauma survivors who can share their personal stories about recovery. Trauma survivors are now providing these mentoring services several times a month.
According to Elizabeth Wysocki, MS, CHES, the coordinator for the Trauma Survivor’s Network at Shock Trauma, patients are often very receptive to the programs and eager to talk to a fellow trauma survivor. “The program gives trauma survivors a voice and also a community where they can find support. The emotional toll that trauma has on patients and families can be overwhelming, and being able to connect with others is essential.”
Carl Hyman, a trauma survivor who visits other patients, says, “I can see myself in some of these patients; I remembered what it was like, especially at night, to be alone, uncomfortable,and wondering what was next. It would have been nice to have a peer visitor then, and I think my visits are helping others.”
“The Trauma Survivor’s Network adds another dimension to the care we provide here. It helps survivors connect and creates a support system that can really make a difference in their lives and in their recovery,” according to Thomas M. Scalea, M.D., physician-in-chief at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center. Dr. Scalea is also the Francis X. Kelly Professor of Trauma Surgery and the director of the Program in Trauma at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Research shows that trauma outcomes improve when survivors have access to peer support and learn to take control of their recovery. The Shock Trauma Center is working closely with researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to evaluate how the network will be used by its patients and families. This evaluation, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will also measure satisfaction among patients and families who are served by the network.
“As the front line providers of trauma care, trauma centers play an integral role in introducing patients and families to the network and linking them to the support and services they need to rebuild their lives,” says Harry Teter, executive director of the American Trauma Society. “On behalf of our organization, I thank the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center for their contribution to this important initiative and applaud their continued dedication to meeting the needs of patients and families.”
The Trauma Support Network will expand its support to include patients at Kernan Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Hospital, where many of Shock Trauma’s patients continue their care.
The Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center is the nation’s only trauma hospital; doctors and staff there care for more than 7,500 patients annually.
For more information about the Trauma Survivors Network at the Shock Trauma Center, people can contact Liz Wysocki at (410) 706-1239 or visit the Web site at www.traumasurvivorsnetwork.org.
For patient inquiries, call 1-800-492-5538 or click here to make an appointment.