JPS Trauma Circle: Circles of Healing

May 25th, 2018

Each year, nearly 3,000 patients arrive at the Level I Trauma Center at JPS Health Network for treatment after being critically injured in falls, vehicle crashes and other events that can dramatically alter their lives.

 

And just as it can take time for the body to heal, trauma patients and their loved ones can suffer emotional and psychological fallout, including experiencing anxiety, anger, depression and panic attacks.

JPS has initiated a new Trauma Circle to help anyone in the community – current and former patients, family members, and healthcare workers who care for them -- learn about the effects of trauma.

The Trauma Circle meets once a month at JPS and at each meeting participants are equipped with simple, evidence-based techniques to help them cope with stress, burnout and anxiety.

The project is being spearheaded by the JPS Trauma Services Department and the JPS Spiritual Care and Ethics Department.

Trauma Circle is different than a traditional support group. Among the goals for Trauma Circle is to create an environment in which all those affected by trauma can have tools and support to facilitate “post-traumatic growth” in the midst of post-traumatic stress, said Chaplain Lee Ann Franklin, Director, JPS Spiritual Care & Ethics.

“When a life altering event happens or when staff members are witness to the cumulative effect of facing multiple traumas daily, it affects our sense of the world and how safe we are in it,” she said. “When given the right tools and support, people have the opportunity to create a new understanding of themselves in the world they live in and how to positively make meaning of who they are becoming.”

While caring for trauma patients is part of our calling here at JPS, research shows that exposure to trauma can affect the emotional health of doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers, even those who don’t work directly with patients.

Leaders hope the Trauma Circle will not only provide healthcare workers skills to help themselves handle the effects of trauma, but also hear firsthand from patients how trauma affects them.

At the first meeting on May 7, guest speaker Janice Harris Lord led the group through breathing exercises they can use to feel calmer. Lord is an expert trauma therapist who co-founded Trauma Support Services of North Texas.

Jimmy Joe Jenkins spoke about healing from trauma after a 2014 attack while he was riding his bike. He was treated at JPS, and surgeons put five metal plates in his face. He suffered from anxiety, which he described as post-traumatic stress disorder.

“I plan on coming back,” he said after the meeting. “There may be one thing I can say to someone who is struggling. Just because your life is changed, it can change for the better.”

The JPS Trauma Circle for past and present patients, their families and JPS team members meets from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on the first Monday of the month in the JPS Main Hospital, third floor, OPC Auditorium, 1500 S. Main Street, Fort Worth.

The next meeting is on June 4 and will focus on resilience. For more information contact Chaplain Lee Ann Franklin, MBA, MDiv, BCC, CT, Director, JPS Spiritual Care & Ethics at LFrankli@jpshealth.org.

In addition, people who have immediate psychological needs can contact the JPS Behavioral Health Department at 817-702-3100 or email them at psychinfo@jpshealth.org.


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