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Documentation of intimate partner violence in women Veterans' medical records: an in-depth analysis

Dichter ME, True JG, Marcus SC, Gerlock AA, Yano EM. Documentation of intimate partner violence in women Veterans' medical records: an in-depth analysis. Military Behavioral Health. 2013 Aug 5; 1(2):114-120.

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National guidelines for identifying and addressing intimate partner violence (IPV) in the healthcare setting recommend that healthcare practitioners screen for IPV experiences and document disclosure and response in the patients' medical records. Women veterans are a growing population with particular risk of lifetime IPV victimization yet we know little about how IPV presents and is addressed within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). The purpose of this study was to examine documentation of women veterans' disclosed experiences of IPV victimization in the electronic medical record in order to identify how IPV presents in the VA and to compare IPV screening, assessment, and response at a VHA medical center to nationally-recognized best practices.We reviewed medical records for a five-year period (2005-2009) of 531 women veteran patients receiving care at an urban VA medical center and analyzed documentation of IPV disclosure and clinician response for patients with any documentation of IPV (N = 126).Women veterans presented with both acute and chronic IPV victimization experiences, as well as long-term effects of past IPV. Documentation of screening and response revealed opportunities for improvement to meet best practices.

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