Langhorne, PA (Oct. 20, 2010)– Polaris Health Direction’s domestic violence outcomes system will soon include a training component to help medical professionals better address the psychological and behavioral issues of abused women. While health care providers consistently attend to the medical needs of domestic violence victims, the system often breaks down when it comes to addressing the emotional impact, which translates into high rates of revictimization, chronic disease and other poor long-term outcomes.
The current Polaris-DV (domestic violence) outcomes system includes assessment, reporting and analytic components that produce detailed case and program level data to support clinical care. The training module, now under development, will provide online tutorials and support for physicians and caseworkers in large medical and public sector systems.
“Medical professionals are often not adequately trained on what to look for as “hidden” signs of abuse or they may not comprehend the far-reaching impact of violence on a woman’s psychological status and health care decisions,” said Dr. Linda Toche-Manley, Ph.D., vice president of Polaris. “The enhanced Polaris-DV system will provide much-needed support, while also systematically collecting data to address behavioral health problems that impact health care costs and long-term outcomes for women.”
Physicians and allied caseworkers will view patient reenactments that illustrate the various presentations of abuse, and will learn the “pearls of wisdom” designed to improve the quality of clinical care. The training component will also contain modules to support collaboration between domestic violence and child welfare agencies, as well as between the medical and public sectors.
“This kind of comprehensive system is critical if the field is to move beyond screening for domestic violence once a year and towards the effective treatment of abuse,” said Toche-Manley. “With up to two-thirds of abused women experiencing the distressing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, we cannot afford to ignore this tragic public health issue.”
This project was supported by Award Number 2R44HD054079-02 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development or the National Institutes of Health.