Using a SANE Interdisciplinary Approach to Care of Sexual Assault Victims.

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BACKGROUND: Many hospitals have recognized the need to develop policies and procedures for female sexual assault victims' prompt access to emergency medical care and for collecting law enforcement evidence. At Lehigh Valley Hospital (Allentown, Penn), care in the emergency department (ED) for sexual assault victims was covered by oncall obstetricians and gynecologists. Although many aspects of rape management were in place, a busy ED with varying levels of physician response and exposure to the process of rape management contributed to a lack of standardized, objective, timely, and compassionate medical management of sexual assault victims. DEVELOPING THE PROGRAM: The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) interdisciplinary approach to care of sexual assault victims was implemented in May 1998. Community education and awareness projects emphasized prevention of sexual assault and domestic violence, as well as minimization of trauma for victims by promoting services that provide a supportive, caring, and healing environment.

RESULTS: Comparing a baseline group of 130 sexual assault victims with 39 patients who were evaluated after the SANE approach was implemented indicated increased clinical interaction and significant improvements in quality indicators, such as completeness of evaluation and information gathered relevant to medical-legal issues.

DISCUSSION: Law enforcement staff developed a more collaborative relationship with SANE examiners through the interdisciplinary team approach. Collaborative relationships were initiated with several other hospitals in the hospital's integrated delivery system to help offset some of the program's training, continuing education, and on-call costs and to allow for joint outcomes collection. The SANE program became a core ED service in July 1999.





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Medical Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences




Department of Medicine, Department of Medicine Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Faculty, Administration and Leadership, Department of Community Health and Health Studies

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