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Communication Strategies for the Trauma Provider (2nd Trauma Program)
Each year, over 7 Million people receive the news of the sudden death or traumatic injury of a family member of loved one.



Because trauma strikes quickly and without warning, families of trauma victims are in shock and overwhelmed when they hear this news. How this news is delivered and the degree to which immediate care and support are extended to the family is critical to how the trauma victim’s family members will cope with their lives thereafter. The ATS 2nd Trauma Program teaches trauma personnel how to communicate effectively and compassionately with families and loved ones of trauma victims, living or dead. Its lessons are used to prepare and guide the first interactions between trauma personnel and the families of trauma victims, as well as for ongoing communication during the ICU phase of recovery. Further, it provides the bridge between these initial contacts and the remaining elements of the Trauma Survivors Network.


News of the sudden traumatic death or injury of a loved one can be devastating to family members. The 2nd Trauma Course was developed to help those in the trauma field to give this devastating news to families and loved ones in the most effective and supportive manner possible. American Trauma Society worked with health care professionals, mental health experts, social workers, communication specialists, and families of trauma victims to compile best practices in communication of difficult information.


The complete course and Handbook cover key concepts effective communication and support, including:
  1. An Introduction to the Program: What is the 2nd Trauma and its Role in the Hospital
  2. Helping Family Members in the Pre-hospital Setting
  3. Notifying Family Members by Telephone
  4. Helping Family Members in the Trauma Department
  5. When a Patient Dies in the Trauma Unit 
  6. Helping Families in the Intensive Care Unit
  7. Trauma and Children 
  8. When Family Members May Have Caused the Injury
  9. Helping Families Cope with the Suicide of a Loved One
  10. Guiding Families through Organ and Tissue Donation
  11. Including Clergy in Trauma Care
  12. The Importance of Administrative Support
  13. Taking Care of Emergency Caregivers
The 2nd Trauma Course is available on DVD with accompanying Handbook.

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