Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Monday, April 17, 2017
Patients seeking care in the emergency setting after sexual assault are an “at risk” and vulnerable population. It is imperative that they have access to and receive patient centered and trauma care that addresses their medical, legal, forensic and psychosocial needs. Some practitioners have education and certification in the expanded practice role of the sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) or sexual assault forensic examiner (SAFE). SANE and SAFE practitioners provide care in an empowering setting, different from traditional medical care that often left the patients feeling re-victimized. Immediate medical and psychological care directly impacts the patient’s well-being and contributes to the beginning stages of the healing process.
It is the position of the Emergency Nurses Association and the International Association of Forensic Nurses that:
1. Sexual assault patients are provided a safe and private environment upon arrival in the emergency care setting, with access to a community based advocate at any time during their stay.
2. Healthcare facilities recognize that they have an obligation to provide appropriate medical forensic intervention when a sexual assault patient presents for care, whether or not the facility has a SANE program.
3. Sexual assault patients receive consistent, objective, immediate medical care, as well as options for collection of evidence by emergency nurses/practitioners and physicians knowledgeable of jurisdictional guidelines and protocols for evidence collection.
4. Whenever possible, forensic nurses/practitioners with specific training as SANE/SAFE examiners are consulted or assigned to care for this patient. If a SANE/SAFE examiner is assigned to the victim, the victim will be the ONLY patient the nurse/practitioner will be treating.
5. Healthcare facilities support SANE/SAFE practitioners by developing, sustaining or maintaining their own programs or establishing relationships with other facilities.
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