The feasibility of screening for intimate partner violence during postpartum home visits.
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There is ongoing debate and limited evidence on the effectiveness of universal screening for intimate partner violence (IPV). The objectives of this descriptive qualitative study were to examine public health nurses' (PHNs') perceptions of screening for IPV; explore the feasibility, from the perspective of PHNs, of IPV screening during home visits; describe PHNs' screening practices; and describe PHN training in relation to IPV. Six PHNs discussed their experiences of addressing IPV both in the context of a randomized trial to evaluate screening methods and in the context of their general home visitation practices. The findings indicate that universal screening for IPV using a standard set of questions is difficult to implement during home visits to a general population of new mothers. For PHNs visiting high-risk families as part of the targeted Healthy Babies Healthy Children program, the standard practice is to assess for mothers' exposure to IPV during in-depth assessment of the family; the nature of in-depth assessment favours a case-finding rather than a screening approach to identifying women exposed to IPV.
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