Domestic violence can result in abuse that lands victims in emergency rooms and doctors’ offices. Victims of domestic violence can also experience long term health problems such as chronic pain, depression, diabetes, frequent headaches, and asthma. Consequently, victims of domestic violence have higher health costs than the average person. Many women who visit their doctor for injuries arising from violence in the home are reluctant to talk about their situation, and doctors do not necessarily know how to ask patients about the source of their injuries. Certain health providers are now collaborating with anti-abuse agencies to screen for domestic violence as a patient’s medical issues are being treated.
Training Medical Professional to Recognize Victims
An example of such a partnership has been in operation for the last four years in Los Angeles, California. The East Los Angeles Women’s Center has offices on the campus of L.A. County – USC, a public hospital. The Center’s staff members have trained more than 2,500 people at the hospital, including doctors, nurses, and social workers, to identify victims of domestic violence. Being on-site also means they can quickly respond to patients in need at the hospital’s emergency room, inpatient, or outpatient facilities.
The newest addition to this collaboration is a 10-bed short term shelter that fills a serious gap in existing accommodations for abuse victims. Patients from the emergency room will now have a place to stay when all the other Los Angeles shelters are full. Last year alone, 600 victims of domestic violence were treated at the East Los Angeles Women’s Center at L.A. County – USC hospital, and nearly one-third of them were either homeless or could not return home.
Intervention to Reduce Violence and Abuse
In 2013, a task force from the U.S. Preventive Services concluded that intervention could reduce violent abuse as well as both mental and physical health problems. Groups such as the American Medical Association and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that doctors question women about domestic violence and refer them to counseling services if needed.
In the past, health providers did not feel equipped to ask questions about abuse if there were no resources to refer patients toward. Screening takes time and is scarce in overflowing emergency rooms. Collaboration between women’s centers and healthcare providers can help treat all the medical issues that stem from domestic violence and prevent sending a woman back to where she will be hurt again, possibly worse than before.
Towson Domestic Violence Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Provide Experienced Counsel to Victims of Domestic AbuseIf you are having domestic issues, the dedicated Towson domestic violence lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC can help. Call us today at 443-589-0150 today to schedule a free and confidential consultation about your situation, or contact us online. We have convenient locations in Towson and Hunt Valley, Maryland, serving clients throughout Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County.