Some Health Guardians express concern that screening everyone may cause unintended harm, but no research evidence supports that concern.
History questions in your health record template, including prior hospitalizations, treatment for injuries, and delayed treatment, may give some questions, especially if a person has been injured multiple times. Record the event, describe the circumstances surrounding the injury and make sure the circumstances match the type of damage. Many times, a little probing thought will reveal a truer perspective of the surrounding circumstances.
One example of a partial questionnaire you might have in your health records could be:
Over the last month, how often did your partner:
- Physically hurt you
- Insult or talk down to you
- Threaten you with harm
- Scream or curse at you
Asking questions such as:
Has your partner threatened you with violence?
Has your partner thrown, broken, or punched things?
These types of questions can increase sensitivity to IPV circumstances that many of us accept because we don’t know of anything better. Whether or not we’re aware of it, the harmful health effects of these types of environments are real. Early intervention may result in fewer long-term physical and mental health consequences. Using a record template with high levels of sensitivity and specificity will allow Health Guardians to better screen for and recognize violence and abuse.