Comprehensive Strangulation Education for Health Care Practitioners
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Session presented on Thursday, September 25, 2014: Project Title: Comprehensive strangulation education for health care practitioners. Problem: There is no formal strangulation assessment taught to health care practitioners resulting in missed injuries from strangulation and missed opportunities to intervene before violence can escalate in lethality. Purpose: The purpose of this project is to develop an educational program for health care practitioners on identifying Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) and strangulation, assessing strangulation injuries, how to complete medico-legal documentation of the same and ethical intervention for the family affected by IPV. Summary: IPV affects almost one third of families in the United States (US), and an estimated three women die in the US every day as a result of IPV. Women involved in IPV relationships, as well as their children, develop significant physical and mental health issues. The children have a high probability of becoming abusers and victims themselves, thus perpetuating the cycle. Victims are more likely to seek healthcare after strangulation, due to the seriousness of the attack and their injuries. With felonious strangulation laws being passed nation-wide, law enforcement professionals will also aid in getting victims medical examination and care. Strangulation itself often leaves little to no external signs of trauma, yet internal injuries can be life-threatening hours to even weeks later. Having survived a strangulation attack is also a significant predictor of future homicide, making ethical intervention critical. Education is imperative for healthcare practitioners to recognize IPV, perform a strangulation-specific examination, and provide appropriate care as well as effective ethical intervention. It is expected that with proper education more strangulation injuries will be discovered and treated appropriately. Identification of these injuries and families dealing with IPV will then lead to intervention. Intervention will thus stop the violence and provide resources for the family which will help to prevent the continuation of the IPV cycle and manifestation of significant sequelae. This will result in healthier families and a cost savings of billions of health care dollars annually.