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Why SANEs Matter: Model of Care for Sexual Violence Victims in the Emergency Department

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Nursing Volume: 3 Issue: 1 Dated: Spring 2007 Pages: 15-23
Stacey B. Plichta; Paul T. Clements; Clare Houseman
Date Published
9 pages
This article compares the models for services to sexual assault victims in 62 of Virginia's general emergency departments (EDs), with attention to the pattern of involvement of sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs).
Ideally, EDs should have trained nursing personnel, preferably SANE/forensic nurses, available for all sexual assault victims in a timely manner. Since a SANE nurse is one of many care providers with whom the sexual assault victims will come into contact, all ED personnel should be trained in how to work with victims of sexual violence. EDs should always have the physical resources (evidence collection kits, medical equipment, and a quiet space) to be able to conduct a forensic medical exam effectively. Of the 62 EDs responding to a survey of all EDs in Virginia (n=82), 27. 4 percent had no SANE services; 14.5 percent of the EDs transferred sexual assault victims to an off-site SANE program; 16.1 percent had part-time availability of SANE services provided by one or more SANEs on the ED staff; 6.5 percent of the EDs provided on-call SANE services at the ED from an off-site SANE program; and 35.5 percent of the EDs had SANE services at all ED shifts by two or more SANEs on the ED staff. The latter two models of SANE services (on-call SANEs and full-time services by SANEs on ED staff) provided the highest quality of services for sexual assault victims who came to the ED. The respondent hospitals were similar to the entire population of Virginia hospitals as of 2005 in terms of bed size, system membership, hospital type, and average number of ED visits per year. All four teaching hospitals in Virginia participated in the survey. 4 tables and 46 references