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Domestic violence education initiative underway

As introduced in the winter edition of Messenger, Keystone First is participating in a collaborative domestic violence education program with the Department of Human Services (DHS) and other HealthChoices managed care organizations.

There has been a growing recognition among health care professionals that domestic violence is a highly prevalent public health problem with devastating effects on individuals and families. Health care providers can play an important role in identifying domestic violence. Routine screening for domestic violence increases the opportunity for effective intervention and enables providers to assist their patients, and family members who are victims.

The clinical model known as RADAR was developed by the Massachusetts Medical Society to assist clinicians in addressing domestic violence and is an excellent tool for assisting providers in the identification of and intervention with possible domestic violence victims.

Use Your "RADAR" - Recognizing and treating partner violence

The acronym “RADAR” summarizes action steps physicians should take in recognizing and treating victims of partner violence.

Remember to ask routinely about partner violence in your own practice.

Ask directly about violence with such questions as "At any time, has a partner hit, kicked, or otherwise hurt or frightened you?" Interview your patient in private at all times.

Document information about "suspected domestic violence" or "partner violence" in the patient’s chart.

Assess your patient's safety. Is it safe for her to return home? Find out if any weapons are kept in the house, if the children are in danger, and if the violence is escalating.

Review options with your patient. Know about the types of referral options (e.g., shelters, support groups, legal advocates).

For more information on "RADAR" visit Pennsylvania Medical Society.