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AHRQ unveils new Web-based instrument to help hospitals assess domestic violence programs

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has announced the availability of a new evaluation instrument that hospitals can use to assess the quality and effectiveness of their domestic violence screening and intervention programs.

Select to access more information on the instrument and instructions.

Hospitals can use this instrument to assess how well their hospital-based programs provide the following: training for health care professionals in recognizing domestic violence, patient screening to determine the risk of domestic violence and future injury, and intervention, including medical treatment, victim advocacy services, followup. The tool asks 38 questions and provides guidance to hospitals in assessing the performance of their programs.

Estimates are that 2 percent to 4 percent of all women seen in hospital emergency departments have acute trauma associated with domestic violence, and another 10 percent to 12 percent of women have a recent history of domestic violence. Although most injuries sustained by domestic violence victims are classified as superficial, an estimated 73,000 hospitalizations and 1,500 deaths among women are attributed to domestic violence each year.

Jeffrey H. Coben, M.D., who served as the Agency's Domestic Violence Senior Scholar-in-Residence from 2000-2001, developed the instrument. Dr. Coben is now an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Drexel University College of Medicine and Director of the Center for Violence and Injury Control Allegheny-Singer Research Institute, Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA. His work at the Agency was cosponsored by the Family Violence Prevention Fund, the Nation's premier organization working to prevent domestic violence.

The instrument incorporates the consensus and expertise of 18 nationally known experts on domestic violence, and it has been extensively field tested. Hospital programs are evaluated against nine measures: hospital policies and procedures, hospital physical environment, hospital cultural environment, training of providers, screening and safety assessment, documentation, intervention services, evaluation activities, and collaboration. The instrument has not been tested for use in other settings, such as private physicians' offices or outpatient clinics. Hospitals can use the instrument to:

  • Develop useful benchmarks or objectives for program achievement.
  • Assess an individual site's performance repeatedly over time to determine progress in program implementation.
  • Compare and contrast different programs across different sites.
  • Determine which program features are most important in creating positive long-term outcomes for domestic violence victims, such as improved health and safety.

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