Many Docs Don't Document Domestic Violence

Almost one-third make no record of patient's complaint, study finds

MONDAY, Nov. 21, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly a third of U.S. doctors surveyed in a recent poll said they don't keep a record when their patients report domestic violence, and 90 percent don't document domestic violence adequately, new research shows.

Those inadequate doctors' reports also don't record whether the doctors offered support and information about domestic violence to patients who might have needed that type of assistance.

Reporting in the Nov. 20 issue of the journal BMC Family Practice, researchers led by Megan Gerber of Harvard Medical School analyzed doctors' reports on 90 patients, all victims of domestic violence.

In 26 of those 90 cases, the doctor's report did not document that the patient had mentioned an incident of domestic violence, the researchers found. Only 10 percent of the doctors' reports recorded that the physician offered some information to patients about where to get help for domestic violence and assisted patients in developing a list of steps to remove themselves from the situation.

A third of doctors surveyed said they didn't feel confident in counseling patients who reported domestic violence.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about domestic violence.

SOURCE: BioMed Central, news release, Nov. 20, 2005
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