Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Hope House BridgeSPAN Program

Health care providers are in a unique position to help victims of abuse if they know how to detect domestic violence (DV) and provide victims with referrals and support.  It only makes sense, then, to reach out to survivors in area hospitals. This is what the Hope House BridgeSPAN Program aims to do. 

Through the BridgeSPAN program, Hope House and other area DV programs provide a coordinated effort to address DV as a serious healthcare issue in 46 hospitals and clinics throughout the Kansas City metro area. BridgeSPAN offers patients with on-site advocacy including support, safety planning, and access to ongoing DV services including those for mental health. It also offers training for medical personnel, and protocol development and maintenance.

Recently, our BridgeSPAN Coordinator provided training to new employees of a local hospital about how to screen patients for DV and what resources to offer when patients screen positive for abuse. Later that evening, a nurse who went through the training called the hotline to obtain services for herself. She had been in an abusive marriage for several years and had never reached out for help. 

The nurse told the hotline operator that after hearing the trainer talk about what DV entails and what survivors go through, she suddenly realized that the trainer was describing her own life. That nurse was able to speak with the hotline operator about a plan for leaving her abusive relationship and she entered services shortly after.  

(Photo credit: Aaron Lindberg)

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