Improving Accessibility and Quality of Child Abuse Medical Evaluations
Continuous Quality Improvement and Education for Child Abuse Medical Providers
Medical evaluations of child sexual abuse are acknowledged in the child maltreatment field as a valuable part of an investigation as they improve the likelihood of timely medical care to a child victim and can provide information to support legal decisions. (Adams et al, 2007) The well being of child sexual abuse victims depends on high quality, consistent medical evaluation techniques and competencies. Provider participation in continuous education, peer review an quality improvement activities have recently been emphasized in the field. The NCA Accreditation Standards recognize that, “A medical evaluation holds an important place in the multidisciplinary assessment of child abuse. An accurate history is essential in making the medical diagnosis and determining appropriate treatment of child abuse.”
Because such activities can be costly, and accessibility limited in rural geographic areas, the Midwest Regional Medical Academy was created to bridge this gap.
Midwest Regional Medical Academy programming and services are guided by nationally known experts in the field of child abuse.
Find the full list of our Child Abuse Medical Advisory Council Members, along with their biographies HERE.
From the abstract: Most sexually abused children will not have signs of genital or anal injury, especially when examined nonacutely. It is important for health care professionals who examine children who might have been sexually abused to be able to recognize and interpret any physical signs or laboratory results that might be found. In this review, we summarize new data and recommendations concerning documentation of medical examinations, testing for sexually transmitted infections, interpretation of lesions caused by human papillomavirus and herpes simplex virus in children, and interpretation of physical examination findings. Updates to a table listing an approach to the interpretation of medical findings is presented, and reasons for changes are discussed.
Updated Guidelines for the Medical Assessment and Care of Children Who May Have Been Sexually Abused
The Midwest Regional CAC is honored to have been involved in the preparation and publication of this important manuscript in the Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology.
From the abstract: The medical evaluation is an important part of the clinical and legal process when child sexual abuse is suspected. Practitioners who examine children need to be up to date on current recommendations regarding when, how, and by whom these evaluations should be conducted, as well as how the medical findings should be interpreted. A previously published article on guidelines for medical care for sexually abused children has been widely used by physicians, nurses, and nurse practitioners to inform practice in this field. Since 2007, when the paper was published, new research has suggested changes in some of the guidelines and in the table that lists medical and laboratory findings in children evaluated for suspected sexual abuse and suggests how these findings should be interpreted with respect to sexual abuse.
The Evaluation of Suspected Child Physical Abuse
This article in American Academy of Pediatrics outlines the important role of pediatricians in preventing, identifying, and treating child physical abuse.
From the abstract: Child physical abuse is an important cause of pediatric morbidity and mortality and is associated with major physical and mental health problems that can extend into adulthood. Pediatricians are in a unique position to identify and prevent child abuse, and this clinical report provides guidance to the practitioner regarding indicators and evaluation of suspected physical abuse of children. The role of the physician may include identifying abused children with suspicious injuries who present for care, reporting suspected abuse to the child protection agency for investigation, supporting families who are affected by child abuse, coordinating with other professionals and community agencies to provide immediate and long-term treatment to victimized children, providing court testimony when necessary, providing preventive care and anticipatory guidance in the office, and advocating for policies and programs that support families and protect vulnerable children.