A prospective questionnaire-based study on staff awareness of intimate partner violence (IPV) in orthopaedic trauma patients
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AIMS: Investigate awareness in the multidisciplinary orthopaedic trauma team regarding intimate partner violence (IPV), willingness to ask patients and knowledge of available support. METHODS: Orthopaedic staff in several UK centres completed an anonymous online validated questionnaire reflecting their opinions on IPV in orthopaedics. Respondents from orthopaedic surgery, nursing, and physiotherapy participated. RESULTS: There were 121 respondents with a mean 10 years' experience. 52% of respondents had previously had a disclosure of IPV from at least one orthopaedic patient. Doctors and nurses were equally likely to have cared for IPV patients (50% versus 56%), but doctors thought abuse was less common (57% doctors compared to 15% nurses thought IPV affected less than 1% of trauma patients, p < 0.05). 74% of respondents reported asking patients about abuse (77/104 answered) but only 24% (29/121) knew about the support currently available. Staff who did not know about available support were less likely to ask about possible abuse (46% versus 22% respectively, p < 0.05). 74% of respondents felt it was important/very important to ask about IPV. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study investigating IPV in UK orthopaedics. Although three quarters of the staff interviewed thought that it was important to ask trauma patients about IPV, only 2% routinely ask patients presenting with musculoskeletal injuries about IPV. Orthopaedic staff are well placed to identify vulnerable patients. This study highlights the need for training staff on how to identify IPV and manage disclosures of abuse given that the incidence of IPV is on the increase.
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