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As we track survey results for our clients, we are seeing a recent trend related to trauma assessment and want to make you aware of it. The Joint Commission standard on trauma assessment is in the Behavioral Health manual. It’s standard CTS.02.02.05: “The organization identifies individuals served who may have experienced trauma, abuse, neglect, or exploitation.” The key requirements are as follows:

  • The organization educates staff about trauma, abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
  • The organization identifies individuals who have experienced trauma, abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
  • The organization assesses the individual who has experienced trauma, abuse, neglect, or exploitation or refers the individual for this assessment.

This standard has been in place since 2011 and most organizations have implemented a process for collecting trauma history and assessing its impact on the client. However, in recent BH surveys, we have seen several organizations specifically cited for not including the element of exploitation in their assessment.

So, now is a good time to review your tool for trauma assessment and make sure it addresses not only trauma, abuse, and neglect but also exploitation.

Trauma Assessment Resources

If you’re looking for resources to conduct trauma assessment, below are a couple of tools we routinely recommend to our clients.

Trauma History Questionnaire (THQ) available through Georgetown University is a 24 item self-report measure that collects information about experiences with crime-related events, general disaster and trauma experiences, and physical/sexual abuse.

Life Events Checklist for DSM-5 (LEC-5) is a self-report measure designed to screen for potentially traumatic events in an individual’s lifetime. It gathers information about exposure to 16 events known to potentially result in PTSD or distress. The individual is asked to respond to the 16 stressful life events by indicating one of the following:

  • It happened to me personally.
  • I witnessed it happen to someone else.
  • I learned about it happening to a close family member or close friend.
  • I was exposed to it as part of my job.
  • I’m not sure if it fits.
  • It doesn’t apply to me.

Many clinicians report that the use of a structured tool to gather trauma history prompts clients to report more information on these types of experiences than they would in a typical interview process. However, it’s important to emphasize that whatever tool is used to gather trauma history, this information must be assessed by a clinician to evaluate the impact of the trauma and implications for treatment.

Looking for Additional Resources on Trauma Assessment and Treatment?

Check out the following websites:

SAMHSA’s National Center for Trauma-Informed Care A technical assistance center with a wealth of resources on various models of trauma-informed care, staff training, and best practices.

International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies An international collection of studies, research, and education on trauma; publishes the Journal of Traumatic Stress.