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Grane Hospice Care Blog

Trauma & PTSD in Nursing Care

For many years, the medical community has overlooked attention of the care and comfort of nursing patients suffering from trauma and/or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  According to Merriam-Webster, “Trauma” is defined as a disordered psychic or behavioral state resulting from severe mental or emotional stress or physical injury.  Historically, PTSD has been associated to veterans and events correlated to wartime events.  However, in light of the recent Me Too movement, medical professionals are now recognizing additional forms of trauma and PTSD, which include sexual trauma.  Some studies have indicated as high as 1 in 3 women, and 1 in 10 men are survivors of sexual assault or abuse. These figures may also rise as more cases are being reported.          

There are also many different types of trauma, resulting from these factors:

       ·         Second-hand abuse (seeing someone abused)

             ·         Witnessing a violent crime/living near neighborhood gang violence

             ·         Being the victim of a fire or natural disaster

             ·         Being involved in an automobile accident

             ·         The sudden loss of a loved one, either naturally or traumatically 

The signs and symptoms resulting from PTSD-related illnesses may include:

  • Trouble sleeping, nightmares
  • Increased anxiety in situations that remind the victim of the traumatic event(s), such as inclement weather (storms, flooding, lightning)
  • Obsessive-compulsive type behaviors (such as checking doors and windows)
  • Refusal to do tasks that remind the victim of the event, such as refusing to be around candles or driving, or reluctant to ride in vehicles

In conclusion, it is important for those in the medical community to identify trauma or PTSD-related illnesses as part of the comprehensive medical assessment. Stress the importance of the individual’s mental health as it is related to PTSD by limiting the amount of triggering factors the victim could be exposed to. Referrals to appropriate resources, (such as psychiatry, support groups and clergy) may also be a part of this individualized plan of care. Learn the warning signs and always encourage seeking professional treatment, if necessary.


For more information about PTSD and traumatic disorders, please visit these links:

Link: Becoming Informed about Trauma

Link: Preparing for Trauma

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