Pediatric sexual abuse can lead to devastating lifelong consequences for the child, their caregivers, and society at large. To achieve the goal of optimizing patient outcomes, strategies to enhance teamwork, education, and mentorship are essential. The ultimate goal of child safety and protection through an evidence-based approach will only be attained when interprofessional alignment of expertise and resources is implemented.
This project was implemented in a mixed-method design in two phases. Phase 1 was a face-to-face, evidence-based, 3.5-hour educational intervention involving members of the interprofessional emergency care team. Phase 2 consisted of focus groups to discover specific concerns emergency care providers encounter and to provide a forum for discussion on methods to improve care delivery. Data analysis was conducted to examine changes before and after education intervention and to identify themes discovered in focus groups.
There was a significant increase in the knowledge, confidence, and self-efficacy of the interprofessional emergency care team regarding sexual abuse after the education intervention. General themes identified in the focus groups included (a) the importance of advancing one's knowledge and skill set in this specialized area, (b) the importance of interprofessional collaboration in the emergency department and with community partners, (c) implementation of evidence-based national guidelines, and (d) ideas for improved quality and safety in the care of the sexually abused child.
Education and collaboration through an interprofessional approach are required for the promotion of quality and safety for the child presenting with alleged sexual abuse.