Task force seeks to educate CAMC staff about domestic violence
In West Virginia, a call is made to a domestic violence hotline nearly every nine minutes. About one-third of homicides in our state are related to domestic violence. It is affecting CAMC's patients, their families and our employees. As one of the state's largest hospitals and employers, CAMC is committed to educating staff and patients about domestic violence and to providing options for helping those affected.
After a few years' hiatus, the domestic violence task force at CAMC has started meeting again monthly. The group has more than 60 members from many departments – clinical and non-clinical. The group's objective is to identify needs for education, training and support about domestic violence for employees, so that they will know what to do when encountering a situation with a patient or a coworker.
"As health professionals, it is important that we adhere to all regulatory standards for addressing domestic violence situations with our patients and their families," said Deb Mattingly, PT, task force lead. "We also need to be knowledgeable about the resources that are available to patients and coworkers who need help."
The task force is currently working on several types of informational materials, including brochures, posters and table tents. Many departments have already received new posters and pocket cards about domestic violence. During the month of October, there will be table tents and cafeteria displays with more information.
The group is also working on educational opportunities for nurses and other clinicians. About 50 nurses from CAMC attended a training session in August about the West Virginia sexual assault kit procedures. Training more nurses to become forensic nurse examiners is also a priority, and the task force members continue to work with other community organizations toward this goal.
At OB/Gyn grand rounds on Oct. 23, Krista Fink, a domestic violence survivor, and Laurie Thompsen from the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence will speak. Laurie will also speak on Oct. 2 during "Ethics in the Round." The task force will also invite other speakers throughout the year.
If your department would like someone to come and speak about domestic violence issues, email firstname.lastname@example.org.If someone you know is in an abusive relationship, here's how you can help:
• Listen to the person
• Believe what they say
• Do not blame the victim
• Do not discriminate against them
• Keep what they tell you confidential
• Allow the person to make his or her own decisions
• Help the person seek assistance from a domestic violence advocate
• Don't give up
If you see an assault in progress, call 911. If you have questions about domestic violence, call the national 24-hour toll-free hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or the closest domestic violence shelter in your region. In the Charleston area, call (304) 340-3549.