Persons who have experienced a recent sexual assault have unique medical, emotional and forensic needs requiring a trauma-informed approach to post-assault care. Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) programs have demonstrated improved quality of health care for patients who have experienced a sexual assault as well as an increased quality of forensic evidence collection, enhanced support with police investigations, and an increased rate of successful prosecution of cases (1). However, access to SANE programs is not uniformly available across the United States and maintaining proficiency in forensic examinations is challenging in remote areas without large volumes of patients. Attrition rates are high when clinicians provide trauma care without support.
An Innovative Solution
In 2012, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health received a $3.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime, to establish a national telemedicine center to serve victims of sexual assault. Over the past three years, the National TeleNursing Center has evolved from a vision to a functioning Center, with a team of expert SANEs providing 24/7 consultation to licensed providers across the country as they care for adults and adolescents who have recently experienced a sexual assault. With the ability to provide collaborative care to six hospitals by the end of 2015, the objective of bringing support and guidance to providers in remote and undeserved areas of the United States is being realized.
For more information about the Center, contact us at 617-243-6669 during business hours, or e-mail Amanda Wyma, the NTC Administrator.