Recognition of child maltreatment in emergency departments in Europe: Should we do better?

F Hoedeman, Patrycja Puiman, AW Smits, MI Dekker, H Diderich-Lolkesde Beer, S Laribi, D Lauwaert, Rianne Oostenbrink, N Parri, L Garcia-Castrillo Riesgo, Henriette Moll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Objectives To evaluate the different policies to recognize child maltreatment in emergency departments (EDs) in Europe in order to define areas of improvement. Methods A survey was conducted on the recognition of child maltreatment in EDs in European countries with a focus on screening methods, parental risk factors, training and hospital policies. The survey was distributed through different key members from the EUSEM, REPEM and the EuSEN. A summary score based on the NICE guideline (4 questions on child characteristics, 4 questions on parental characteristics and 5 questions on hospital policy) was calculated. Results We analysed 185 completed surveys, representing 148 hospitals from 29 European countries. Of the respondents, 28.6% used a screening tool, and 31.8% had guidelines on parental risk factors. A total of 42.2% did not follow training based on child characteristics, and 57.6% did not follow training on parental characteristics. A total of 71.9% indicated that there was a need for training. 50.8% of the respondents reported a standardized policy for the detection of child maltreatment. Translating the survey results to NICE summary scores of the EDs in Europe, we found that 25.6% (34/133) met most, 22.6% (30/133) met some and 51.9% (69/133) met few of the NICE guideline recommendations. More specifically, with respect to hospital policies, 33.8% (45/133) met most, 15.0% (20/133) met some and 51.1% (68/133) met few of the NICE guideline recommendations. Conclusion There is high variability regarding policies for child maltreatment detection and only a quarter of the EDs met most of the NICE guideline recommendations for child maltreatment. There is a need for the use of screening tools, training of ED staff and implementation of local hospital policies.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0246361
JournalPLoS One (print)
Volume16
Issue number2 February
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2021

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