Patients who have experienced childhood abuse or trauma may have a range of health issues related to their childhood abuse. To best help these patients, GPs need to be aware, informed and empathic.
- About one in every six adults in Australia is a survivor of childhood trauma.
- A patient’s childhood traumas may be affecting his or her health now.
- Be aware of the possibility of underlying childhood trauma in a patient of any age.
- Listen and validate a patient’s feelings.
- Provide patients with information about how their abuse may be affecting them.
- Encourage self-care and a support network.
- Be clear about what GPs can do for patients who have experienced childhood trauma, and refer these patients appropriately.