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3 in 4 domestic violence victims go unidentified in emergency rooms, Penn study shows
Date:3/16/2011

screening in emergency departments have yet to be shown to be effective. To better focus on how often and how victims are identified when they come to the emergency room, the study authors conducted a longitudinal cohort study that cross-checked court, police and emergency department records in a semi-rural county in Michigan between 1999 and 2002.

The authors found that intimate partner violence was more likely to be identified when the ED visit occurred on the day of the police incident assaults were four times more likely to be revealed at this point and when patients were transported to the hospital by police. Providers were also more likely to identify abuse among patients whose chief complaints involved mental health or substance abuse issues such as suicidal behavior or overdoses.

The data showed that when abuse was identified, ED staff provided legally useful notes in the patient's chart 86 percent of the time and communicated with police about half the time. However, those steps didn't always lead to interventions to actually protect the women fewer than 35 percent of cases where abuse victims were identified, contained any documented assessment of whether the patient has a safe place to go after discharge from the hospital. Nor were they consistent in referring victims to community-based domestic violence resources that occurred only 25 percent of the time. Since health care workers have limited resources to devote to interventions for domestic violence, the authors point out the need to take a cross-systems approach to make it easier for providers to do the right thing.

"Most hospitals have a social work infrastructure to counsel patients with social risks and assist them in linking to needed services, but our study shows that these resources are infrequently utilized. This may be due to the fact that social workers are not always readily available in the ED," Rhodes said. "As providers, we should strive to set up our he
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Contact: Holly Auer
holly.auer@uphs.upenn.edu
215-200-2313
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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