Addressing Unique Patient Needs
In one of the busiest emergency departments (EDs) in Chicago, Swedish Hospital provides specialized services for patients who have suffered trauma or experienced a crisis.
A designated Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) room provides a safe space for survivors of sexual assault, complete with a private bathroom, shower and conference area. The room was added as part of an ED renovation project, which allows the hospital to serve 20,000 more patients annually.
“Privacy is the main thing here,” explains Kimberly Leslie, ED clinical director. “There are medical and emotional needs that need to be addressed. If law enforcement needs to come talk to [a survivor], there’s some privacy without others watching.”
“The space is not only important for patients, it also is important for our doctors and nurses because caring for survivors of sexual assault is a very involved and stressful process,” adds Kate Lawler, director of the hospital’s violence prevention program.
The ED also has 12 SANE-trained nurses who each received 40 hours of specialized training in medical forensic care.
In addition to a specialized behavioral health unit, Swedish Hospital has a new office for Lutheran Social Services of Illinois’ Project IMPACT, a behavioral health intervention service. Project IMPACT’s crisis counselors help patients experiencing a mental health or addiction crisis, regardless of insurance status. It also refers patients to other social services, including outpatient counseling and domestic violence services.