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USPSTF: Younger Women Should Be Screened for Partner Violence

But USPSTF finds insufficient evidence for screening vulnerable, elderly for abuse and neglect

MONDAY, Jan. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Women of childbearing age should be screened for intimate partner violence (IPV) and referred for intervention services if necessary, according to recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), published online Jan. 21 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

To update the USPSTF 2004 recommendations, Virginia A. Moyer, M.D., M.P.H., of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and colleagues from the USPSTF conducted a systematic review on screening women for IPV, focusing on the accuracy of screening tools for identifying IPV among asymptomatic women of childbearing age, and on the benefits and harms of screening vulnerable adults for abuse and neglect.

The USPSTF gave a grade B recommendation for screening women of childbearing age for IPV, including domestic violence. Women who screen positive should be provided with or referred for intervention services. There is currently inadequate evidence to assess the benefits and harms of screening vulnerable adults (physical or mental dysfunction) or the elderly.

"The USPSTF recognizes that clinical decisions involve more considerations than evidence alone. Clinicians should understand the evidence but individualize decision making to the specific patient or situation," the authors write. "Similarly, the USPSTF notes that policy and coverage decisions involve considerations in addition to the evidence of clinical benefits and harms."

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