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Implementing Intimate Partner Violence Screening in the Primary Care Setting

Background. Intimate partner violence is a highly prevalent problem in the United States and leads to serious negative physical and psychological health outcomes, including death. There are screening tools that can detect IPV, yet screening rates in healthcare settings remain low, due to a variety of barriers, including lack of time, confidence, screening policies, and resources. Purpose. The purpose of this DNP project was to increase IPV screening rates within a primary care clinic.Methods. To accomplish the purpose of the project, an education intervention on IPV and available resources was provided to clinicians and staff. This was followed by administration of the Extended-Hurt, Insult, Threaten, Scream (E-HITS) screening tool to women ages 18-55 who presented for an annual physical exam over a 6-week period. Outcomes included documented screening rates, as well as feedback from clinicians and staff on barriers. Results. 55 eligible women were seen in the primary care clinic and 44 women completed the E-HITS screening, for an 80% screening rate. Three clinicians (n=3, 50%) and four nursing staff members (n=4, 66.67%) responded to the survey and 100% of participants somewhat or strongly agreed that the screening was efficient. 100% of clinicians felt very or extremely confident in responding to IPV. Almost all (n=3, 75%) nursing staff members denied barriers to screening. Conclusion. IPV is a highly prevalent and can lead to dangerous health outcomes. Primary care clinicians and nursing staff are in a unique position to screen and provide interventions and resources for patients experiencing IPV. Screening can be efficient in the primary care setting, and policies should be in place to help support clinicians and nursing staff members to consistently screen eligible patients.