Assessing For Family Violence

Discussion

A 10-year-old child named Elizabeth is brought into the emergency department by her mother. The mother appears anxious but sits quietly next to her daughter in the waiting room. When called into the triage area, the mother gives a history of coming home from work to find Elizabeth sitting on the couch watching television. Elizabeth did not go to the door to greet her or look toward her when she said hello. The mother thought the daughter’s behavior was odd because she always greeted her at the door with a hug. As she approached Elizabeth, she noticed that she was clutching her right arm as if in pain. The mother asked what was wrong, but Elizabeth remained silent. Then she said “Nothing is wrong.” The father is sleeping upstairs. The mother gives a family history of having an alcoholic husband who usually drinks himself to sleep. She said he has abused Elizabeth physically and psychologically in the past, and she brought her to the emergency room because she fears he has hurt her. When Elizabeth is asked about the abuse she appears scared, insecure, and withdrawn.

  1. What considerations should be made by the nurse, to provide a physically and emotionally safe environment for the interview and assessment of this client who has experienced domestic abuse?
  2. In your response, include some special considerations that should be taken when interviewing a child.
 
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