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Aust N Z J Public Health. 1999 Aug;23(4):418-20.

One year follow-up of an emergency department protocol for abused women.

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Department of Community Health, University of Auckland, New Zealand.



To evaluate if the positive effects of an initially successful emergency department protocol of care for victims of partner abuse (PA) were maintained at one year follow-up.


A community intervention trial compared two public hospital EDs in Auckland, NZ, at baseline (BL), following implementation of a PA intervention (PI), and at one year follow-up (FU). The initial intervention involved training staff at one ED in a protocol for the identification and acute management of abused women. Later, an on-site protocol co-ordinator worked to ensure that new staff received training in protocol use. Outcomes were assessed by reviewing a random sample of women's medical records. Identification of PA was assessed for each record on a yes/no basis. Identified cases were classified as 'confirmed' or 'suspected' PA. Acute management was assessed by ascertaining staff use of interventions and documentation of abuse.


Approximately equal numbers of records were reviewed at each ED at BL, PI and FU (total n = 10,961). Significant interactions were found for classification of PA and acute management offered to victims between EDs over the different study phases. However, the increase in identification of confirmed cases and the improved acute management offered to identified victims found at the intervention ED in the PI phase were not maintained at follow-up.


Although staff training in the use of protocols for victims of partner abuse can result in improved care, these effects were not maintained.


More intensive institutional efforts are needed if protocol benefits are to be maintained.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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