Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Funding Kickstarts Trauma-Informed Agency Designation

Independence, Ohio – August 7, 2018 – Koinonia, a leading provider of day, residential and career services to people with intellectual/developmental disabilities (ID/DD), received a $20,000 Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) grant to provide staff with trauma-informed care training.

Trauma-informed care training teaches Koinonia managers, supervisors and nurses about the widespread impact of trauma and teaches them ways to respond in ways that promote resilience and hope, while simultaneously teaching coping skills to their ID/DD clients. The BWC funding will provide a three-part, three-month training program for 90 employees and lays the groundwork for Koinonia to become a Trauma-Informed Agency.

“At its core, trauma-informed care is about helping people feel safe, connected, and in control. When we feel this way, we are best able to learn, engage and respond well to stressful situations, and in turn, help someone else who might be experiencing times of feeling unsafe or out of control,” said Diane Beastrom, president & CEO of Koinonia Homes.

People with ID/DD have complex care needs. A large majority are exposed to trauma and chronic toxic stress resulting in an array of social, emotional and behavioral challenges. At a minimum, one-third of all individuals with ID/DD suffer from a co-occurring mental illness. Oftentimes, the needs of this population go undertreated or misunderstood as behavioral issues. The trauma-informed care training is designed to help make those Koinonia serves feel physically and psychologically safe and secure. It will examine how adverse life events create repeated fear responses and disrupt individuals’ feeling of safety, even when in a safe situation. The training will equip Koinonia employees with the skills to teach their clients how to regulate their emotions and actions.

With the BWC grant-funded training, Koinonia is beginning its journey to incorporate trauma responsive practices throughout the agency. The entire management team will be included in the training initiative. Koinonia is seeking additional funding to expand training over time to all employees.

“This is a cultural shift in understanding others and ourselves,” added Beastrom. “Trauma-informed care is a critical element in helping us address our workforce challenges, continuous improvements in service quality, and other organizational procedures.”

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