RHSHC SANE helps sexual assault victims
Wed, 11/07/2018 - 1:22pm admin
Sara Stromseth-Troy TPD Staff
Cresco - Regional Health Services of Howard County offers help for victims of sexual assault, courtesy of its Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) with financial assistance from the RHSHC Hospital Auxiliary.
Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners Carol McGuire, RN, SANE and Alyssa Vondersitt, RN, SANE presented to the RHSHC Hospital Auxiliary, asking for its support for supplies to facilitate their SANE program.
The Auxiliary graciously agreed to purchase the following items for the program: Sears Craftsman rolling cabinet, Forensic blue swabs, Atlas of Sexual Violence, disposable swab drying racks, evidence bags, Bio Light Forensic Light Source Kit, scissors, nail clippers and tweezers. The Auxiliary also expressed its interest in supporting other staff nurses to become SANE nurses, to help prevent burnout.
McGuire said, “We are very fortunate to have such a supportive Hospital Auxiliary. They are very receptive to our needs and requests, and are very willing to help us with future expenses for our SANE program, and in getting additional nurses trained, to help avoid staff burnout.”
RHS helps victims
of sexual assault
RHSHC is able to help sexual assault victims in a discreet and confidential manner.
Every victim who presents for a sexual assault exam at RHSHC is provided with a sexual assault advocate from Riverview Center, which is a non-profit agency that provides compassionate, survivor-centered care for individuals affected by sexual violence in 14 counties in Iowa. They will assist victims in coping, healing and recovery. Their services are free, confidential and age-appropriate.
There is no cost to a patient for a sexual assault forensic exam. If the patient presents with medical issues that need to be treated first (such as lacerations, bleeding, etc.), RHSHC will bill the patient’s insurance for that part of the emergency room visit. Any sexual assault victim, age 13 and older, is able to consent to having a sexual assault forensic exam.
Patients younger than 13 will need parental/guardian consent. The State of Iowa will pay the cost of the sexual assault examination and follow-up exams for treatment of sexually-transmitted infections in addition to medications from the pharmacy.’
According to information provided by RHSHC:
‘The services these SANEs can provide are history and documentation of assault, medical forensic sexual assault physical exam for adult/adolescent patients, collection of specimens, baseline pregnancy testing, urine screening for drug facilitated assault, discuss and administer prophylactic medications for sexually transmitted diseases, provide appropriate immunizations, prescribe appropriate HIV medications (depending on exposure), answer questions and provide expert witness testimony in court.’
The current SANEs at Regional Health Services of Howard County are Jessica Dutka, ARNP; Dawn Pedersen, ARNP; Tracey Schlangen, ARNP; McGuire, RN; and Vondersitt, RN.
These nurses have completed several hours of training, approved by the Iowa Board of Nursing, to be able to perform sexual assault exams. McGuire and Vondersitt successfully completed an Adult/Adolescent Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Training Program (49.5 contact hours) through 5.1.5 FoReNsics LLC at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines and an Adult/Adolescent Refresher course (13.25 contact hours) in 2018.
Definition of sexual
In information provided by RHS:
‘According to the Iowa Department of Human Rights, an American is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds. Sexual assault is any sexual activity where consent is not given freely. This includes cases where the survivor is unable to give their consent freely, such as if they were intoxicated or under the influence of a drug.
‘Sexual assault also includes unwanted sexual contact and non-contact sexual experiences, like verbal sexual harassment. Sexual assault can be committed by anyone — in fact, the perpetrator is often a friend, partner, family member or acquaintance.
‘In the United States, millions of men and women, boys and girls have been victims of sexual assault. Sexual violence can have long-term effects on victims. Victims can have increased suicidal or depressive thoughts, experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), are more likely to use drugs, and are at risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Sexual violence also affects victims' relationships with their family, friends and co-workers.
Benefits of a forsenic exam
‘The benefits of having a sexual assault forensic exam and allowing DNA to be collected are that it increases the likelihood of identifying the perpetrator, holding perpetrators accountable and prevents future sexual assaults from occurring.
‘It is important to present for a sexual assault forensic exam within 120 hours of the assault. Sexual abuse evidence is most effectively collected in the 72 hours immediately following the assault. Sooner is better, to preserve evidence.
‘The best evidence is collected if you haven’t rinsed your mouth or drank fluids, haven’t urinated or showered, can wear/bring in the clothes (especially underwear) you were wearing during the assault.
‘DNA evidence can be collected from the body and clothes of the person who survived the assault. This evidence will be provided to law enforcement, who may send it to a crime lab.
‘Rape is the most under-reported crime; 63 percent of sexual assaults are not reported to police.’
Call Regional Health Services of Howard County at 563-547-2101 with any questions.
“We are here to help those victims (of sexual assault) in a discreet and confidential manner. Every victim who presents for a sexual assault exam at RHSHC is provided with a sexual assault advocate from Riverview Center,” said McGuire.