For more than a decade, members of the ISMA Family Violence Committee have encouraged you to display domestic violence resource cards in your patient restrooms. The small business-sized cards list phone numbers for shelters and other support agencies, and a safety plan.
Report child and endangered adult abuse to your local police or call:
- Child Protective Services - (800) 800-5556
- Adult Protective Services - (800) 992-6978
Failure to report either form of abuse is a Class B misdemeanor and also prompts medical malpractice litigation.
But did you know that the cards not only help your patients, they are also benefiting others in your community? For example, a Gary liquor store owner called the ISMA and asked about the cards for use in her business. She received one from a friend. Another call came from an employee of the Purdue Calumet University Police Department, who ordered 2,000 resource cards to use on campus. She noticed the cards at Munster Community Hospital.
“The resource cards provide something tangible you can give to a patient,” noted Rhonda Sharp, M.D., chair of the Family Violence Committee.
Are you screening?
Dr. Sharp urges you to always screen for domestic violence by asking patients, “Have you been hit, kicked, shoved or scared by someone?”
“It is important for physicians to screen, especially if they suspect a patient is being abused,” she said. “I have been seeing a patient for about eight years who was being abused. About four months ago, she finally left her abusive spouse and she is doing quite well with the help of our local shelter. With a bad economy, we need to be very aware of increased incidences of abuse.”
The ISMA offers materials to help you:
- Just Ask. This free reference guide provides eight steps to screen and assist victims.
- Resource Cards. As described, these small cards fit in special cardholders that can hang on the wall of patient restrooms. Cards are free to members and $7.70 for 100 cards for nonmembers. Cardholders are $6.70 each.
- Screening forms. This free document provides a check-off list to help you record injuries, including a body diagram and a safety assessment tool.
- Power and Control Wheel. This free patient handout shows the different tactics an abuser may use to exert control over another person.
- Domestic Violence InfoGuide. This free reference guide details steps a victim can take to leave an abusive relationship. It also explains how to develop a safety plan and file a protective order.
Find these materials on the ISMA website or call the ISMA at (800) 257-4762 or (317) 261-2060.
Earn CME while learning more about domestic violence
Learn to approach patients about domestic violence with ISMA’s online webinar “Effective screening for domestic violence” and earn one hour of continuing medical education credit.
With just an hour of time at your convenience, you will learn how to:
- Approach a patient about intimate partner violence (IPV) in a variety of health care settings
- Recognize certain behaviors and injuries that may indicate abuse
- Apply intervention techniques if a patient screens positive for IPV
- Apply methods for good medical documentation of abuse
Find the seminar on the ISMA website.
For questions, call Jill Bruce at the ISMA at (317) 261-2060 or (800) 257-4762.