LAYTON, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – Intermountain Healthcare believes everyday healthcare is a critical resource partner in recognizing all forms of abuse and connecting people with domestic violence resources. Intermountain says intimate partner violence is a preventable public health problem, and studies show screening connected to resources decreases violence and improves health, including reducing healthcare costs. Intermountain has already been working to help survivors of abuse, but recently received an additional grant from the Society to Improve Diagnostic Medicine to continue work in incorporating interpersonal violence screenings during outpatient healthcare visits.
A medical assistant, nurse, doctor or midwife usually conducts the screening for domestic violence in healthcare. They will ask a few questions about current relationship safety and any past trauma. The focus is to identify women in current unhealthy situations as well as those who have experienced domestic violence in the past. Additionally, women are taught to watch for red flags and will receive support through the promotion of mental, physical, and social health in healthcare visits. Making these screenings a part of the standard of care allows Intermountain to diagnose unhealthy relationships earlier.
Leah Moses is a Certified Nurse Midwife with Intermountain Healthcare and a board member of the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition. Moses had her own experience as a victim of domestic violence, and it prompted her to become a women’s healthcare provider to support and advocate for survivors. Midwives are women’s healthcare providers who care for women in pregnancy, deliver babies and do GYN annual exams and primary care health checkups including immunizations, and prescriptions. Moses says midwives helped save her life because they were trauma-informed and screened for domestic violence. As a result, Moses and her children found resources and eventual safety.
“If I can be of service to help a woman get to a healthier place in her life, then I know I can help the next generation, Moses said. “My professional purpose is to make sure the women I care for feel safe and empowered. I know if I can do that, they will help create a healthier next generation.”
The Utah Domestic Violence Coalition says that in a women’s lifetime, one in three women will experience domestic violence in the state of Utah. To learn more about the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition, visit udvc.org. If you, a friend or family member are impacted by domestic violence, free confidential resources are available. You can also call the UDVC Link Line at 1-800-897-LINK (5465).