Given Ms. Li’s ethnicity, she might appear reserved, avoid eye contact, stoic, and will not ask many questions. Her willingness to answer and ask questions may differ if she is second or third generation in America. I would be mindful of her personal space, reassure her privacy, and use motivational interviewing to obtain vital information. I would avoid complicated terminology and use language according to her education level. I would also be very careful of any signs and symptoms of possible suicide ideation and remind her that whatever happened is not her fault. There might also be a tendency to give yes or no replies. It is best to ask open ended questions.
The Abuse Assessment Screen (AAS) “is a multiple-item questionnaire that asks about past and current emotional, sexual, and physical abuse, both prior to and during pregnancy. The questions assess the severity and frequency of injury and abuse. The form is included in all medical charts prepared for new prenatal care patients at their first visit to a clinic or emergency room” (National Institute of Justice, 2014). If abuse is discovered, the nurse must ensure patient safety (remove any items that may cause harm, complete diagnostic tests PRN, and provide a safe milieu), document well, report to authorities, refer patient to a counselor for further psychiatric evaluation, and work with interdisciplinary staff to ensure patient has a safe place to be discharged to (i.e. women’s domestic abuse shelter), has access to support groups, and other needs she might have if she cannot return home.
If the patient refuses to leave the abuser, the only thing left to do is to provide education regarding how to identify the abusers red flags, identify safe areas of the house, and create a code word that can be used as a signal to others that she is in danger (Help Guide, 2014). We can also provide resources (crisis hotline, women shelter locations, support groups, legal aid, etc.), and create an emergency plan. The emergency plan would consist of having an escape route, emergency phone and contacts, gas in a vehicle that is not in a blocked location, emergency cash, packed clothing and essentials, hidden spare keys, and practice escaping safely (Help Guide, 2014).
National Institute of Justice (2014). The Abuse Assessment. Program Profile. Retrieved from crimessolutions.gov
Help Guide (2014). Help for Abused and Battered Women. Retrieved from http://www.helpguide.org/articles/abuse/help-for-abused-and-battered-women.htm
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