Making a Gyne exam safer and easier for those who have experienced trauma: part 2
A Gynecology examination can be stressful, anxiety provoking and awkward. Consider what it is like for women who also previously experienced trauma. (see blog: part 1)
The essence of any care framework is to be aware of the concerns and issues and to develop the correct tools to care appropriately.
We often see patients who may have symptoms of trauma: Agitation, fear, anxiety, extra quiet, sudden sweating or easily startled before and during examinations, outburst of anger, emotional swings, cries easily.
How do we help in these circumstances? The simple answer is that we assume that many if not most of our patients have experienced trauma and that many or most women cannot share that history during a Gynecology consultation.
Our goal, using trauma informed care is:
- To understand and realize the effects of previous trauma,
- To try identifying symptoms where possible and to have a uniform approach for all women, because we may not be aware of trauma,
- Respond by communicating and adapting examination techniques and procedure, like using the tiniest speculum possible and corroborating consent repeatedly.
- Not to cause more harm and to encourage resilience and free active participation.
We want an environment that is safe, caring, that allows every woman we see, to be in control and to feel in control, so that she can easily let us know if she is not comfortable or wishes to have the conversation or examination or ultrasound done differently.
We are not trained nor equipped to manage or treat the effects of trauma, but we want you to experience a caring, safe, gentle and informative Gynecology consultation, examination or ultrasound. We want you to know that you are fully in control while in this clinic.
How do we help at Meridia Medical?
- When filling in the online intake information form, there is introductory information about what to expect and about your rights as a patient to control the consultation.
- Our website home page has a information page called: What to expect during Ultrasound and Gynecology examinations at Meridia Medical.
- We have other blog articles about Gynecology care on our website, please read them.
- Our clinic is calm, clean and we have comfortable examination chairs and equipment to make your examination as easy and gentle as possible. Even our speculums are warmed, and we use the smallest size for you. We don’t use a one size fits all “regular “speculum.
- We give you information, ask your consent many times, check in with you often to see if we can continue.
- There is a Registered Nurse with you during every examination to offer support, comfort and provide you with information so that there are no surprises to cause you to startle or be anxious.
- We have many interactive consent forms so that you are always fully informed.