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Rural primary care workforce views on trauma‐informed care for parents experiencing complex trauma: A descriptive study

Reid, C., Bennetts, S.K., Nicholson, J.M., Amir, L.H. and Chamberlain, C. (2022) Rural primary care workforce views on trauma‐informed care for parents experiencing complex trauma: A descriptive study. Australian Journal of Rural Health . Early View.

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An important service system for rural parents experiencing complex trauma is primary health care.


To investigate workforce knowledge, attitudes and practices, and barriers and enablers to trauma-informed care in rural primary health care.

Material & Methods

This study used a descriptive, cross-sectional design. It involved an on-line survey conducted in 2021 in rural Victoria, Australia. Participants were the primary health care workforce. The main outcome measures were study-developed and included, a 21-item Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices tool, a 16-item Barriers and Enablers to Trauma-Informed Care Implementation tool, and three open-ended questions.


The 63 respondents were from community health (n = 40, 63%) and child and family services (n = 23, 37%). Many (n = 43, 78%) reported undertaking trauma-informed care training at some point in their career; with 32% (n = 20) during higher education. Respondents self-rated their knowledge, attitudes and practices positively. Perceived enablers were mainly positioned within the service (e.g. workforce motivation and organisational supports) and perceived barriers were largely external structural factors (e.g. availability of universal referral pathways, therapeutic-specific services). Open-ended comments were grouped into four themes: (1) Recognition and understanding; (2) Access factors; (3) Multidisciplinary and collaborative approaches; and (4) Strengths-based and outcome-focused approaches.

Discussion & Conclusion

Primary health care is an important driver of population health and well-being and critical in rural contexts. Our findings suggest this sector needs a rural trauma-informed care implementation strategy to address structural barriers. This also requires policy and system development. Long-term investment in the rural workforce and primary care service settings is essential to integrate trauma-informed care.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Ngangk Yira Aboriginal Health Research Centre
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of National Rural Health Alliance Ltd.
Copyright: © 2022 The Authors.
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