Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Three In Four Domestic Violence Victims Go Unidentified In Emergency Rooms, Penn Study Shows

17.03.2011
Findings Show Abused Women Are Frequent ER Visitors for Many Health Problems, But Providers Rarely Intervene to Provide Help

More than three quarters of domestic violence victims who report the incidents to police seek health care in emergency rooms, but most of them are never identified as being victims of abuse during their hospital visit.

These findings, from a new University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine study, point to a missed opportunity to intervene and offer help to women who suffer violence at the hands of an intimate partner.

“Emergency departments are a safety net for women with health issues of all kinds, but our study shows we’re not doing a good enough job of assessing our patients’ entire situation,” said Karin V. Rhodes, MD, MS, director of Penn’s Division of Emergency Care Policy Research in the department of Emergency Medicine. “There is no reason in the age of information technology that we should not provide routine screening and referrals to the social services patients can use to protect themselves from future violence.”

The findings, published online this week in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, revealed that women who reported domestic assaults to the police relied heavily on emergency rooms for medical care: Nearly 80 percent came to an emergency room at least once during the four years after their assault. Most of those sought ED care frequently – an average of seven times each. Although hospitals typically have policies requiring screening and intervention for domestic violence, only 28 percent of the patients studied were ever identified as victims of abuse. That’s likely because most visits (78 percent) were for medical complaints, not injuries associated with the violence. Only 3.8 percent of the ED visits involved a chief complaint of assault, which the authors say underscores the importance of screening patients who don’t appear to be at risk.

Previous studies have shown that as many as 20 percent of women have been victims of domestic violence in the past year, but moves toward universal 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 health care system to present every patient with an opportunity to feel safe and supported in disclosing instances of abuse and give them information and resources that can help.”

Among strategies Rhodes and her coauthors suggest to boost the identification of women who’ve been abused: Use of confidential patient portals in which patients could use the Internet to link to their medical record and communicate with their providers, and development of easy-to-access interventions for victims, such as the on-site programs used to help patients with substance abuse and mental health problems. Integrated databases linking hospitals, criminal justice and social service agencies could also increase identification and tracking of abuse and use of support services.

Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $4 billion enterprise.

Penn's School of Medicine is currently ranked #2 in U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools and among the top 10 schools for primary care. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $507.6 million awarded in the 2010 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania – recognized as one of the nation's top 10 hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; and Pennsylvania Hospital – the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Penn Medicine also includes additional patient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2010, Penn Medicine provided $788 million to benefit our community.

Holly Auer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uphs.upenn.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Physics of bubbles could explain language patterns
25.07.2017 | University of Portsmouth

nachricht Obstructing the ‘inner eye’
07.07.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Physicists Design Ultrafocused Pulses

Physicists working with researcher Oriol Romero-Isart devised a new simple scheme to theoretically generate arbitrarily short and focused electromagnetic fields. This new tool could be used for precise sensing and in microscopy.

Microwaves, heat radiation, light and X-radiation are examples for electromagnetic waves. Many applications require to focus the electromagnetic fields to...

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Programming cells with computer-like logic

27.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Identified the component that allows a lethal bacteria to spread resistance to antibiotics

27.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Malaria Already Endemic in the Mediterranean by the Roman Period

27.07.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>