DiversityNursing Blog

Violence Intervention Programs 'Could Save Hospitals Millions'

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Jan 28, 2015 @ 10:46 AM

Written by James McIntosh

man receiving therapy from a therapist with clipboard resized 600

While violence intervention programs have demonstrated that they can be an effective way of preventing violent injury, little has been known about their financial implications. A new study now suggests that these interventions could save various sectors millions of dollars.

Researchers from Drexel University have analyzed the cost-benefit ratio of hospital-based violence intervention programs (HVIPs) and report that - as well as benefiting victims' lives - HVIPs can make costs savings of up to $4 million over a 5-year period in the health care and criminal justice sectors.

"This is the first systematic economic evaluation of a hospital-based violence intervention program, and it's done in a way that can be replicated as new evidence emerges about the programs' impacts across different sectors," states lead author Dr. Jonathan Purtle.

As a major cause of disability, premature mortality and other health problems worldwide, HVIPs have a crucial role to play in helping victims from experiencing further suffering.

The provision of case-management and counseling from combinations of medical professionals and social workers has been associated with not only reducing rates of aggressive behavior and violent re-injury but also improving education, employment and health care utilization for service users.

Many HVIPs still require a sustainable source of funding

Intervention typically begins in the period immediately after a violent injury has been sustained. Not only is this a critical moment in terms of physical health, but it can also be a time when victims may start thinking about retaliation or making changes in their lives.

"The research literature has poetically referred to the time after a traumatic injury as the 'golden hour,'" says study co-author Dr. Ted Corbin.

In 2009, around six programs were in operation and, as word of their success has spread, more and more HVIPs have been initiated.

Calculating the potential financial benefits of HVIPs is crucial, as for many of these programs a stable and sustainable source of funding does not exist. Instead, many rely on a variety of different financial sources such as insurance billing, institutional funding, local government funding and private grants.

For the study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the researchers conducted a cost-benefit analysis simulation in order to estimate what savings an HVIP could make over 5 years in a hypothetical population of 180 violently injured patients. Of these, 90 would receive HVIP intervention and 90 would not.

Costs, rates of violent re-injury and violent perpetration incidents that a population would be estimated to experience were calculated by the authors using data from 2012.

The authors made a comparison between the estimated costs of outcomes that would most likely be experienced by the 90 hypothetical patients receiving HVIP intervention - including $350,000 per year costs of the HVIP itself - and the costs of outcomes predicted for 90 patients not receiving any HVIP intervention.

The net benefit of the interventions

A total of four different simulation models were constructed by the researchers to estimate net savings and cost-benefit ratios, and three different estimates of HVIP effect size were used.

Costs that were factored into the simulations included health care costs for re-injury, costs to the criminal justice system if the victims then became perpetrators and societal costs for potential loss of productivity.

Each simulation calculated that HVIPs produced cost savings over the course of 5 years. The simulation model that only included future health costs for the 90 individuals and their potential re-injury produced savings of $82,765. The simulation model including all costs incurred demonstrated savings of over $4 million.

Dr. Purtle acknowledges that estimated lost productivity costs may have been slightly high due to an assumption in their data that all individuals in the simulation were employed. However, he believes that there are also many social benefits to HVIPs that cannot be financially quantifiable:

"Even if the intervention cost a little more than it saved in dollars and cents to the health care system, there would still be a net benefit in terms of the violence it prevented."

The authors believe that the findings of their study could be useful in informing public policy decisions. By demonstrating that HVIPs can be financially beneficial, the study suggests that an investment in HVIPs is one that pays off for everyone concerned.

Source: www.medicalnewstoday.com

Topics: injury, violence, intervention, programs, financial, victims, saving money, nursing, health, healthcare, nurse, nurses, doctors, medical, patients, hospital, treatment, Money

How Forensic Nurses Help Assault Survivors

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Aug 13, 2014 @ 11:32 AM

By Lisa Esposito

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When forensic nurse examiners work with survivors of violence – sexual assault, child abuse, elder abuse or domestic assault – they’re painstakingly collecting and documenting evidence that can hold up in a potential court case. And they’re taking care of a person who’s just been traumatized, often by someone they know well. Forensic nursing takes a balance of objectivity, skill and compassion, and it’s more than just a job for the professionals who do it.

Experts on the Stand

Whatever type of assault they’ve endured, survivors’ first encounter with law enforcement or medicine “paves the way for their entire future,” says Trisha Sheridan, a forensic nurse and clinical assistant professor at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Nursing.

Victims face a higher risk of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, suicide and medical problems in the aftermath, she says, and those who “have a positive experience with someone who’s trained to deal with victims of violence” tend to not only have better legal outcomes, but better quality of life than others who receive standard emergency care. But in Texas, especially the more rural areas, forensic nurse examiners are few and far between.

Last year, Texas passed a law requiring emergency department nurses to undergo two hours of training in basic evidence collection, but that’s far from enough, Sheridan says. And while most facilities “either have a specific room that’s set aside in the ER or special private place for those patients,” she says, “without a forensic program or a forensic nurse, it’s just an ER bed.”

While certified forensic nurse examiners undergo extensive skills training, Sheridan believes graduate programs can move forensic nurses to the next level, with a deeper understanding of the science behind the evidence they’re collecting, helping them explain the pathology and ramification of victims’ injuries in a courtroom. For instance, she says that information helped the jury “make a better-informed” decision when she testified in two recent cases of strangulation.

Taking On Domestic Violence

Strangulation is one of the most frequent injuries in domestic violence, yet symptoms are subtle and often downplayed, says Heidi Marcozzi, coordinator of the Intimate Partner Violence Program, started last year as a branch of District of Columbia Forensic Nurse Examiners, which also works with victims of sexual assault.

Forensic nurses look not only for bruises and scratches, but less obvious symptoms such as petechiae (small red or purple spots on the skin), voice changes, cough and headaches, Marcozzi says. They ask patients about loss of bowel and bladder function, which is a good indicator that they lost consciousness during the attack.

“Domestic violence is a huge issue” in the nation’s capital, Marcozzi says. The program’s 30 forensic nurses respond to these calls from MedStar Washington Hospital Center, anytime day or night. Within an hour of getting the call for a domestic violence case, the forensic nurse arrives at the hospital, where ER staff have already made sure the patient is in a quiet, private space rather than the waiting room.

Before the exam, the forensic nurse walks the patient through the whole process. “We see a fair amount of drug-facilitated sexual assaults, so we want to make sure it’s very clear that the patient is able to consent,” Marcozzi says. “Then we do a medical exam head to toe to make sure they’re physically stable.” Nurses pays close attention while patients describe the incident and use that account to guide where they collect evidence, including swabs that will later go to the crime lab for analysis.

The FNE photographs any injuries and examines the patient using a high-powered light source that can reveal hard-to-see signs like bruising. The light also helps the nurse locate "foreign secretions ... things will fluoresce under certain wavelengths – semen, urine, saliva,” Marcozzi says.

More Than Just a ‘Rape Kit’

Victims of sexual assault go through essentially the same process, with the addition of a pelvic exam, which takes an additional 15 minutes or so. Examiners photograph the genitals for signs of injury, and then collect swabs as indicated. Treatment comes next. If appropriate, patients can receive Plan B emergency contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancy, or medications to protect against HIV and other prevalent sexually transmitted infections.

In sexual assault cases covered by DCFNE, an advocate with Network for Victim Recovery of DC accompanies the nurse to the hospital and helps patients with crisis management, discharge plans, crime victim’s compensation and referrals for counseling.

Preventing the Worst

For domestic violence victims, the DCFNE program teams up with Survivors and Advocates for Empowerment, a nonprofit that provides advocacy and crisis intervention, and works to hold offenders accountable. SAFE runs the lethality assessment project for the District of Columbia – trying to determine which victims are at highest risk for being killed by their abusers.

Advocates evaluate the victim’s environment for cues – such as whether the abuser has easy access to weapons, or even “if there’s a child in the home who doesn’t belong to him, which, believe it or not, increases the severity of the risk,” says Natalia Marlow-Otero, SAFE director.

Of the 5,000 or so domestic violence cases SAFE sees each year, up to 1,900 are deemed high-lethality cases. Isolation is a “huge” factor among the women – and some men – who are victims of domestic violence. Isolation and abuse are even more prevalent among immigrant clients, Marlow-Otero says, so SAFE provides an English/Spanish helpline (1-866-962-5048). People can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (1-800-​799-SAFE). ​

Source: http://health.usnews.com

Topics: violence, victims, nursing, safety, forensic nurse, forensic, survivors, examiners

No More : Putting an end to domestic violence

Posted by Hannah McCaffrey

Wed, Oct 09, 2013 @ 10:15 AM

nomore logo

What is NO MORE?

NO MORE is a new unifying symbol designed to galvanize greater awareness and action to end domestic violence and sexual assault.  Supported by major organizations working to address these urgent issues, NO MORE is gaining support with Americans nationwide, sparking new conversations about these problems and moving this cause higher on the public agenda.

The history of NO MORE

The NO MORE symbol has been in the making since 2009. It was developed because despite the significant progress that has been made in the visibility of domestic violence and sexual assault, these problems affecting millions remain hidden and on the margins of public concern. Hundreds of representatives from the domestic violence and sexual assault prevention field came together and agreed that a new, overarching symbol, uniting all people working to end these problems, could have a dramatic impact on the public’s awareness.

The signature blue vanishing point originated from the concept of a zero – as in zero incidences of domestic violence and sexual assault. It was inspired by Christine Mau, a survivor of domestic violence and sexual abuse who is now the Director of European Designs at Kimberly-Clark. The symbol was designed by Sterling Brands, and focus group tested with diverse audiences across the country who agreed that the symbol was memorable, needed and important.

Who is behind NO MORE?

Every major domestic violence and sexual assault organization in the U.S. – from men’s organizations like A CALL TO MEN and Men Can Stop Rape, to the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, to groups that help teens like Break the Cycle and Futures Without Violence, to organizations that advance the rights of women of Color and immigrants like Casa de Esperanza and SCESA to the U.S. Dept. of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women – all of them and more are behind NO MORE.

View the complete list of organizations here.

What do we do?

NO MORE is spotlighting an invisible problem in a whole new way. The first unifying symbol to express support for ending domestic violence and sexual assault, NO MORE can be used by anyone who wants to normalize the conversation around these issues and help end domestic violence and sexual assault. Our vision is that NO MORE will be everywhere – on websites, t-shirts, billboards. Organizations and corporations, large and small, will embrace this symbol as their own. When an abuse case makes media headlines, you will instantly see NO MORE being tweeted, discussed on Facebook, worn as jewelry and on t-shirts; made into buttons and posted in classrooms, offices, billboards and grocery stores across the country. NO MORE will help end the stigma, shame and silence of domestic violence and sexual assault. NO MORE will help increase funding to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault.  Like the pink ribbon did for breast cancer and the red ribbon did for HIV/AIDS, NO MORE will help to change behaviors that lead to this violence.

Get the symbol today and start showing your support.

Why should I care?

The next time you’re in a room with 6 people, think about this:

  • 1 in 4 women experience violence from their partners in their lifetimes.
  • 1 in 3 teens experience sexual or physical abuse or threats from a boyfriend or girlfriend in one year.
  • 1 in 6 women are survivors of sexual assault.
  • 1 in 5 men have experienced some form of sexual victimization in their lives.
  • 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men were sexually abused before the age of 18.

These are not numbers. They’re our mothers, girlfriends, brothers, sisters, children, co-workers and friends. They’re the person you confide in most at work, the guy you play basketball with, the people in your book club, your poker buddy, your teenager’s best friend – or your teen, herself. The silence and shame must end for good.

How can I help?

There are hundreds of ways you can spread the word about NO MORE.

Say it: Learn about these issues and talk openly about them. Break the silence. Speak out. Seek help when you see this problem or harassment of any kind in your family, your community, your workplace or school. Upload your photo to the NO MORE gallery and tell us why you say NO MORE.

Share it: Help raise awareness about domestic violence and sexual assault by sharing NO MORE. Share the PSAs. Download the Tools to Say NO MORE and share NO MORE with everyone you know. Facebook it. Tweet it. Instagram it. Pin it.

Show it: Show NO MORE by wearing your NO MORE gear everyday, supporting partner groups working to end domestic violence and sexual assault and volunteering in your community.

Learn more here.

Topics: violence, sexual assault, no more, assault, nursing, nurse

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