Transforming the Healthcare Response
Kaiser Permanente has developed and implemented an effective model for family violence prevention in the healthcare setting.
At Kaiser Permanente, we believe everyone deserves a safe and healthy relationship. We understand it’s difficult to talk about violence from a family member or intimate partner. That’s why our physicians and health care teams take the initiative to identify domestic violence, providing referrals and resources to help end abuse.
We started the Family Violence Prevention Program at Kaiser Permanente Richmond Medical Center in 1998. This innovative model of care program provides a comprehensive and integrated approach to build awareness, provide care, and prevent domestic violence.
Now, we’re implementing the Family Violence Prevention Program model at all our facilities.
Since implementation of the program, identification of our members affected by domestic violence has increased six-fold. Knowing what our members are experiencing allows our clinicians to provide them with the help needed to change their situation. This increase in identification is taking place in regular office visits, rather than in the emergency department, which suggests we are helping people before more serious injury occurs.
Kaiser Permanente is proud to be a leader in addressing the problems of family violence by working with our partners in health care and the community to develop programs that work. It’s just another example of how we’re caring for the total health of our members’ mind, body, and spirit.
Our Four-Part Model of Success
1. Creating a supportive environment
We place a priority on creating a comfortable atmosphere so a member will feel safe reaching out and seeking help. That’s why we have resource information like posters, flyers, and brochures in our medical offices, as well as articles in our member newsletter, Partners in Health, and kp.org.
2. Inquiry and referral
Physicians and other health care team members learn about domestic violence so they can ask about it in a caring way. They know what resources are available and how to help identify, assess, and support at-risk members.
3. Providing on-site resources
We refer members experiencing domestic violence to specially qualified clinicians from Behavioral Medicine, Social Services, or Mental Health Departments. These professionals have received additional training in responding to family violence, and can help with:
- Assessing the level of danger
- Creating a safety plan
- Referring to a specialized domestic violence program in the community
Some medical centers also offer an on-site domestic violence support group, where members can learn from others and share their experiences in a non-judgmental, supportive, and compassionate environment.
4. Connecting with community groups
The needs of those experiencing domestic violence often go beyond what can be provided in a health care setting. So we’ve formed partnerships with community advocacy groups and law enforcement agencies that can provide additional services, like emergency housing, legal support, help with restraining orders, and other advocacy services.