Working with Trauma during the Cancer Continuum

Pre-, Peri-, and Post-Undocumented-Migrant Trauma

Trauma on the migration continuum 

Trauma can be experienced at multiple points of the migration journey.  

Pre-Migration Trauma: Trauma experienced before leaving one's home country.

Peri-Migration Trauma: Trauma experienced in the migration process (i.e., crossing the border, presenting oneself for asylum, etc.).

Post-Migration Trauma: Trauma experienced while living in the new host country. For many undocumented migrants, the constant state of fear of deportation traumatizes the patient

Source: Garcini, L.M., Murray, K.E., Zhou, A., Klonoff, E.A., Myers, M.G., &Elder, J.P. (2016). Mental health of undocumented adults in the United States: A systematic review of methodology and findings. Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies, 14(1), 1-25. 


Navigating Challenges in Resources

"I have not seen much growth in the availability of resources for undocumented patients in the 10 years I have worked in oncology.  Actually, criteria for the eligibility of services has become more strict with citizenship and residency status." 

Listen to my experience with these challenges, and my approach to processing potential disappointment with patients. 

Ravi, A., & Little, V. (2017). Providing Trauma-Informed Care. American family physician, 95(10), 655.

Helping Undocumented Patients Establish Trust

Handouts:

Provide your patient with written materials that establish her rights and normalize her feelings. Click on the links below to print these infographics for your patients.

Disassociation:

Patient over-burdened with emotion caused by their diagnosis, which can be often be complicated by their traumatic fear, may disassociate. Giving them printouts to take home and review to help establish transparence and rapport with their doctor.  

Mediate:

You may act as a mediator to help the patient talk to their doctor about the impact of their undocumented status. 

Becoming Trauma-Informed

Training resources for fellow professionals

The Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) leads the Advancing Trauma Informed Care 

initiative, which is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  It is a national initiative aimed at understanding how trauma-informed approaches can be practically implemented across all health care disciplines.

For more training resources and information click the button below.

2019 Undocumented and Ill

Production and Design by Roxanne Ruiz-Adams, DSW, LCSW 

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DISCLAIMER: Roxanne Ruiz-Adams is a Doctor of Social Work, and does not represent herself to be an attorney. The contents herein are not intended to be legal advice or substitute the legal advice of a qualified attorney. If you are in need of legal advice, please seek a qualified attorney. More information can be found on the American Immigration Law Association website