The SWIFT Collaboration: Piloting social work trauma informed care in paediatric settings at three Victorian health services – the first six months

Dr Anita Morris1, Ms Nicole Lind1, Ms Jacinta Bourke2, Ms Mary Harty3, Ms Karen Todd2, Ms Debra Leahy3, Dr Kristin Diemer4, Ms Kirsty Forsdike-Young4

1Western Health, St Albans, Australia, 2Barwon Health, Geelong, Australia, 3Austin Health, Heidelberg, Australia, 4University of Melbourne, Parkville, 3010


The SWIFT Collaboration, a multi-site social work model of care pilot has been funded by a Department of Health and Human Services Advanced Practice Workforce Grant 2016/17and is being evaluated by the University of Melbourne. The aim is to introduce and embed a social work trauma informed model of care in paediatric settings at three Victorian public hospitals.


All consenting patients referred to the SWIFT service receive the trauma informed model of care. The pilot utilises a mixed methods approach that includes a 25 item questionnaire to identify patient and caregiver adverse childhood experiences and protective factors. A brief intervention reveals risk and trauma, provides validation and supportive counselling, introduces psychoeducation, facilitates safety planning and incorporates referral to trauma specific services.


Preliminary data will illustrate patient and caregiver profiles, presenting issues, adverse childhood experiences and protective factors, discharge destinations and referral pathways. The results will be compared with baseline and will highlight clinician reflections on implementing a new model of care.


Our experience has indicated that strong stakeholder insight, engagement and commitment are essential.The model has benefited from a strong evidence base, credentialing of SWIFT clinicians and broader staff education about trauma informed care. The authors will provide insights and recommendations for those seeking to establish a trauma informed model of care in public hospital settings.