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Standardizing care for sexual assault survivors

Standardizing care for sexual assault survivors

Author(s): Jennifer A. Korkosz, DNP, WHNP-BC

Across the United States, women seek immediate care following sexual assault can expect to receive thorough and uniform care in a variety of clinical settings. This approach to the acute care of sexual assault survivors comes as a result of the evolving and growing role of sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs)—nurses who are educated and prepared to follow standardized guidelines and criteria. However, the follow-up care that sexual assault survivors receive from their regular healthcare providers (HCPs) can vary greatly. Many women receive inadequate post-assault care, which may compromise their recovery and even exacerbate the aftereffects of an already harrowing experience. Ensuring that follow-up examinations are every bit as thorough and uniform as the initial care should be a priority for HCPs.

Incomplete or inadequate care in the weeks and months following a sexual assault can lead to longtermphysical and mental sequelae. To limit these sequelae, clear-cut standardized clinical guidelines are needed. Using current national recommendations and reports from experts in the field,1-12 together with her own clinical experience and input and advice of 17 community-based advanced practice nursing colleagues who comprised a focus group, the author developed and copyrighted a clinical practice guideline tool that can be used in primary care practices. This tool—a Clinical Flow Sheet Post Sexual Assault©—incorporates all aspects of a patient’s recovery and well-being to support a holistic recuperation. =

Jennifer A. Korkosz is Assistant Professor at the Daniel K. Inouye Graduate School of Nursing, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, in Bethesda, Maryland. The views expressed in this project are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the United States Air Force, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.


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