Alicia Aroche, CSH research associate for community engagement, presented to a group of pediatric residents about trauma-informed care and research about adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) on February 3 at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU Children’s Pavilion.
ACEs are of particular importance for pediatric physicians to be aware of. According to research done by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the more ACEs a child experiences, the higher the likelihood of negative health outcomes in their future. These negative health outcomes can include depression, obesity, suicide attempts, sexually transmitted diseases, and broken bones, among others. In addition, the more stress and trauma a parent is exposed to, the more difficult it can become for parents to be compliant in treatment plans for their children.
“When working with children, it is important to look at the family as a unit and not to make assumptions about a parent’s willingness to help their children get better,” Aroche said. “For example, if a parent is having transportation issues, and children are prescribed medication, the parent may not be able to pick [the medication] up.”
Aroche mentioned that an overall focus on addressing the social challenges of their patients can help physicians to improve patient care.
“If physicians are more aware of the social factors that contribute to challenges in treatment compliance, hopefully that can help reach the ultimate goal of reducing health disparities…It’s important for physicians to see themselves as part of a support network where patients are able to seek support for many aspects of their life,” Aroche said.