What Is a Patient Trauma Assessment?

Did you know that more than 5% of people in the United States suffer from PTSD at some point in their life? 

PTSD is common for individuals that have gone through life-changing moments. Unresolved trauma can worsen over time and lead to harmful and toxic behaviors if left ignored. The best way to treat trauma is by identifying it and understanding its influence with an assessment. 

Read below to learn about patient trauma assessments so you can find a treatment plan that won’t exacerbate problems. 

Who Needs to Get Tested for Trauma?

Patient trauma assessments are designed for both adults and children. 

A person that has recently gone through a traumatic event, may need intervention. People that display social, behavioral, and emotional behaviors should consult with their doctor. 

Depending on the severity of the situation, some people undergo the assessment after they did something harmful. Check https://www.axiomlaw.com/industries/medical-lawyers for help if you’ve been through trauma. You can also request a formal assessment if you have growing concerns about your mental and physical well-being. 

If EMTs or EMS have unresponsive individuals, they conduct a rapid medical assessment. There is a quick physical exam on the patient to assess wounds. 

Identifying Trauma

One of the most challenging things about treating trauma is identifying it. 

It can take weeks or even years for signs of trauma to develop. Many people are surprised when responses arise because they may feel they’ve already overcome the situation. 

If you are easily startled, have self-destructive behavior, or have trouble sleeping, you may need treatment. Bruising and an inability to control anger can also indicate that you’ve been through something traumatic. 

It’s common for people to get misdiagnosed with anxiety disorders or ADHD when trauma is the underlying factor. If you visit a doctor and feel that the diagnosis doesn’t fit, you can request further assessments by another professional. 

What Is the Purpose of a Trauma Assessment? 

The purpose of a Rapid Trauma Assessment is to collect information about a patient to better understand their need for treatment. 

Trauma assessments are a collection of details about a person’s medical and personal history. Medical professionals use this info to identify if a person is a danger to themselves or others. It is also used to help properly diagnose and treat individuals after traumatic events. 

Doctors can create a full image of their patient’s symptoms and history involving trauma. The goal is to create a custom treatment plan that’s effective for the individual and will treat their specific behaviors. The entire assessment can be done within 2 minutes and professionals can find obvious and hidden injuries in a patient. 

Patient Trauma Assessment Process

The entire process for a trauma assessment should last 15 to 25 minutes. 

Since there are several parts of the assessment, it may take an additional few minutes. The assessment is partially structured. A doctor will follow the DSM-5 manual for measuring symptoms, but the rest of the process may vary. 

Keep reading further to discover the 3 main parts of the assessment. 

Clinical Interview 

The first part of the process involves a clinical interview that’s conducted by a clinical psychologist. 

Patients, if responsive, will be asked a set of questions that will help get them more comfortable with the doctor and on the same page. Doctors will likely ask you about yourself, introduce themselves, and explain the goals of the interview. 

Psychologists use open-ended questions and statements to assess a patient’s trauma. They will focus on your mental state and first ensure that you are sound of mind and able to take care of yourself. As you get further into the interview, the questions will become more specific about the trauma you’ve endured and how it’s impacted your life. 

Standardized Assessments

After the interview is complete, patients have their stress and trauma exposures measured. 

A Brief Trauma and Exposure Survey will have a set of questions for patients. These results help you decide what types of trauma you have lived through and can provide more appropriate approaches. 

A Life Events Checklist and Stressor Checklist will also be reviewed with the patient to gather data. Depending on the trauma, there may be additional questionnaires to complete. If you have any concerns or feel unsafe opening up about trauma, remember that it’s a safe space. 

Monitor Behaviors 

Out-patients and in-patients that have survived trauma will have to go through observation. 

Although observation can be scary, medical professionals do their best to keep you comfortable. In some cases, a video or description of behaviors could supply enough details about your trauma and necessary treatment. 

Brain scans can help psychologists learn more about patient behaviors. The nerves, senses, and responses can indicate a lot about how trauma affects someone. 

What Happens After the Assessment?

The results of your assessment will determine the next steps.

If you have concerns about a diagnosis, you can request another assessment. A different doctor would ensure there weren’t any errors or conflicting results. 

Patients that have behavioral problems may recieve outpatient care. The severity of the symptoms and risk of injuries will help determine which path is best for each person. 

Healing Will Come From Within 

Taking a patient trauma assessment will just be the start of your healing journey. 

By learning how to identify signs of trauma and what the assessment process looks like, you can find relief and treatment. Psychologists can use standardized tests and therapy to gather data and design a suitable treatment plan. Don’t be afraid to speak with a doctor if you ever feel like you’re in danger or a danger to yourself. 

Be sure to read our blog for more information about improving your well-being and overcoming life’s challenges!