Online proceedings for the IRCT General Assembly and 10th International Scientific Symposium - Delivering on the Promise of the Right to Rehabilitation

Time: 14:10 to 15:40 Download Poster

Treating staff to treat patients

Presenter(s) and co-author(s): Ms. Anette Carnemalm ( The Swedish Red Cross Treatment Centres for Persons Affected by War and Torture - Sweden )


One crucial aspect of treating traumatized patients in the SRC Treatment Centers is to keep our staff (staying with us) and to keep them healthy. Only by doing this, we can ensure long-term quality of our work, although working with utterly demanding issues where vicarious trauma is a prominent risk.


In this respect, efforts are made on an organizational level to ensure appropriate routines and practices for security. These include how to deal with incidents of threatening behavior, whether this is directed at staff member or the patient her-/himself.
In addition the context is set to provide frequent counselling and supervision of staff as well as individual training within the professional field. Relevant support is established on a group level as well as on an individual level, according to the needs and wishes of each staff member. The existing structure should also encourage an open but certainly considerate climate in allowing staff members to express themselves and to encourage discussions.
Further education brings back competence to the clinical work at hand and to the team in our seminars devoted to this. Since recently taking part in research work is encouraged, also developing methodology and promoting knowledge at the centre, while at the same time developing personal abilities.


In the humanitarian sector support and supervision of staff is a very relevant topic that should be addressed during this international symposium. With this presentation - again with no scientific paper being published or at hand - we can mainly share our experience in the field, encouraging a further discussion. Psychosocial support work and specialized psychiatric care given to persons affected by torture keeps presenting a challenge to the individual delivering the help. Research on peer support and the social baseline can be drawn upon when considering the importance of preventing traumatization or burn-out of staff, which, quite soon, will jeopardize the well-being of the patient as well.

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