Joining Forces To Provide a Full Continuum of Trauma-Focused Care

March 27, 2024

McLean Hospital has a strong reputation as being one of the premier locations in the United States for trauma-related patient care and research.

With exposure to traumatic events occurring worldwide, we continue to adapt to meet the needs of the communities we serve.

To address this, McLean’s Hill Center and Outpatient Trauma Clinic have reimagined themselves to increase access to the highly specialized care they provide.

The Hill Center’s partial hospital (day treatment) program, once designated for women only, and the outpatient trauma services are now a combined program referred to as the Trauma Continuum of Care at the Hill Center.

Survivors of trauma of all genders now have access to partial hospital and outpatient treatment services.

Partial hospital treatment includes intensive day programming for a set period. The Trauma Continuum of Care’s partial hospital service runs Monday through Friday for up to four weeks.

Outpatient services include group and individual therapy. Patient participation varies, but is generally three to six months.

Meeting Patients’ Needs

According to Milissa Kaufman, MD, PhD, medical director of the Trauma Continuum of Care, these services allow for greater accessibility to the levels of care that patients most often need.

“It’s a robust and cutting-edge treatment platform,” said Kaufman.

“Instead of operating as separate programs, we now have shared staff, shared space, cross-training, and overlapping and complementary programming.”

Evidence-based treatments, covered by most insurance plans, are available to individuals with trauma-related disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and dissociative identity disorder (DID).

“Whether they are seeking follow-up care from one of McLean’s inpatient units or are referred from a community-based provider looking for adjunctive, specialized services for their patient, we can help,” said Matthew A. Robinson, PhD, program director of the Trauma Continuum of Care.

“Depending on the level of support a person needs, they can now receive care at a partial hospital level and move on to outpatient services or receive outpatient care directly, whether referred from the community or upon discharge from another McLean unit or program,” Robinson said.

“It’s all specifically trauma-focused and meets the patients where they are.”

Trauma Continuum of Care at the Hill Center

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Expanded Programming

New offerings at the Trauma Continuum of Care are primarily group-based, including patient education and skills that address PTSD-related avoidance, reactivity, and distressing emotions, such as shame.

A first-of-its-kind outpatient group, based on the evidence-based trauma treatment program Finding Solid Ground, has expanded services for individuals with severe dissociation, including DID—a population that is systemically underserved.

While services are offered for all genders, many of the partial hospital and outpatient groups remain gender-based, allowing patients to identify where they are most comfortable while receiving care.

“While the groups are single-gender, individuals can self-select into the group whose gender they identify with,” said Kaufman.

“Everyone deserves a space where they feel safe with the identity they have.”

Steeped in Cutting-Edge Research

The new combined trauma programs are also expanding McLean’s research capabilities.

According to Lauren A. M. Lebois, PhD, co-director of the Dissociative Disorders and Trauma Research Program, “We’re looking at neurobiological markers of PTSD and DID during trauma-focused treatment using neuroimaging, psychophysiology, and more—all supported by targeted federal funding.”

“We feel privileged to be able to conduct these studies and deeply grateful to our participants for their time and insights,” Lebois continued.

“We have heard from many folks that participating in research was the first time they felt like anything good came out of their traumatic past experiences.”

Added Kaufman, “Patients across levels of care are also being recruited into a number of other McLean studies. Individuals who are taking medication or may have coexisting conditions that might exclude them from certain studies, in some cases, we have been able to include them. Many patients are eager to participate in research.”

Not only have treatment programs and services combined at the Trauma Continuum of Care, but so has the referral and intake process.

There is now one centralized referral and admissions procedure to streamline efforts for patients and providers.

Learn more about McLean’s trauma-focused care and the admission process.

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