Carle recognizes forensic nurses, Attorney General lauds program

11/7/2011
Carle Foundation Hospital is only one of two hospitals in Illinois to have a continuous program that provides sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE) to victims of sexual assault. These skilled professionals have taken the lead in training nurses to be forensic examiners and will lead an educational seminar on November 28.
 
As a result of this continued focus, Illinois’ Attorney General recently recognized Carle’s SANE program when the office announced an effort to double the number of SANEs in hospitals statewide so that survivors of sexual assault will feel more encouraged to report these assaults.

The role of the SANE is to perform a physical as well as forensic exam, provide appropriate medications with the supervision of a physician, and ensure written and verbal information on the care provided and the follow-up the patient will need. They are also available to testify when the case goes to court. The SANEs remain objective and unbiased, as they consider themselves a piece of a puzzle that surrounds the event that brought the patient to the emergency room.

Carle has eight SANE nurses who examine or consult on domestic violence, elder and pediatric abuse/neglect cases. SANEs at Carle see approximately 125 sexual assault cases a year – 52 percent of which are exams of pediatric patients. Nationally, most SANE programs examine only adults and adolescents; however the SANEs at Carle recognized the need for a pediatric examiner program. No matter what the age, every patient who has experienced sexual assault will receive compassionate care by an expert examiner.

“We think it’s so important to have these resources here at Carle so that we can provide the best possible care to our patients,” said Patty Metzler, registered nurse and SANE supervisor. “Individuals who have experienced sexual assault or abuse need a specialized kind of care. SANEs get called to do hospital inpatient exams with abuse and neglect of all ages. We travel the Carle system whenever a physician or nurse requests a consultation.”

November 7-12 is the International Association of Forensic Nurses’ Forensic Nurse Week, a recognition of nurses who provide exceptional care to victims and examination of suspected perpetrators of abuse and violence. Carle Foundation Hospital is joining in that recognition by honoring the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program in Carle’s Emergency Department.

To increase knowledge of best practices for SANE or forensic personnel and to improve quality of care for victims of physical/sexual trauma, Carle is hosting the 9th Annual SANE Seminar on Monday, November 28, 2011 from 8:15 a.m. – 4:15 p.m. The event will be held at the Forum at Carle, and is open to all healthcare providers, law enforcement, child advocacy, rape crisis advocacy, prosecutors and defense attorneys.

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