Maryland hospital launches domestic violence program to reduce patient risk

Staff at Westminster, Maryland's Carroll Hospital will begin screening possible domestic violence victims to reduce their risk of being injured or killed by their partners, according to the Carroll County Times. Although law enforcement already uses lethality assessments when responding to domestic violence calls, the method will be new to the hospital. Research shows that individuals may need to go through a lethality assessment five times before they start searching for resources, according to the article. The hospital views this as an opportunity to at least help domestic violence victims become more aware of the available resources. The screening process will include questions about past violence, weapons in the home and other risk factors. Patients with high screening scores will receive the option of talking to a counselor on the telephone. In the past, hospital staff, aiming to be discreet, gave pamphlets or cards to individuals they believed were in a domestic violence situation, but had no method to determine if they were in immediate danger, said Tracey Yingling, the program coordinator at the hospital. "Now they know we're asking," she said. "Now they know we care." Article