Family and Relationships


Proper Screening Could Stop Domestic Violence

May 21, 2008 11:43 AM
by Sarah Amandolare
Many doctors are avoiding the subject of domestic violence or approaching it ineffectively with patients, a new study concludes.

30-Second Summary

Effective screening may be the key to preventing and ending cases of domestic violence against women, but many doctors are not asking the right questions, or broaching the subject effectively.

Only 7 percent of nearly 5,000 women surveyed in a recent nationwide study said a physician had ever asked them about domestic violence, while doctors maintained that they didn’t have the time, training or enough access to services to help patients being abused.

Experts say the best way to ask patients about abuse “is in a private place, with no family members present, as part of the routine patient history,” according to the New York Times.

However, in order for a patient to feel comfortable enough to divulge details of domestic violence, the doctor must first establish a good rapport, which means different things to different people.

Many medical schools now use actors to “help young doctors perfect their bedside manner,” reports AARP. Empathy and compassion are focused on in tandem with medical knowledge.

Others feel that doctors are either inherently capable of compassion and empathy, or not. Such critics believe that etiquette-based medicine that encourages doctors to be polite and professional could be a more realistic means of achieving patient satisfaction.

Headline Links: The domestic violence epidemic

Related Links: Physicians’ rapport with patients

Reference: Legislation to protect women


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