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Soc Work Health Care. 2018 May-Jun;57(5):355-375. doi: 10.1080/00981389.2018.1447531. Epub 2018 Mar 9.

Applying a trauma-informed perspective to loss and change in the lives of older adults.

Author information

a Department of Social Work , University of Maryland Baltimore County , Baltimore , MD , USA.
b School of Social Work , University of Maryland Baltimore County , Missoula , MT , USA.


Traumatic events are widely acknowledged to have long-term impacts on individuals, yet only recently have health-care professionals begun to assess for and gain an understanding of trauma in the lives of older adults. For many older adults, trauma is often disenfranchised and overlooked as being either a distant past event (e.g., child abuse) or a normal part of aging (e.g., widowhood). Trauma-informed care, on the other hand, calls for health-care professionals to acknowledge that past and recent events may have been traumatic for older adults and to assess and care plan to reduce or prevent re-traumatization. In this article, we explore the impacts of trauma in later life through a case study of a patient admitted to a long-term care facility. Analysis of this case study suggests several important implications for social work practice in long-term care and the use of person-centered care practices in the care of older adults in general.


Nursing home; psychological trauma; trauma-informed care

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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