- Posted by Sarah Swiston
- On June 21, 2019
- AMITA health, Chicago suburbs, Domestic Violence, domestic violence hospital program, DV agency, DV Hospital Program, non-profit, northwest chicago, Northwest Community Hospital, WINGS Hospital Program
Hospital emergency departments are often the first point of care for victims of domestic violence. Consequently WINGS Hospital Program provides critical resources to domestic violence survivors at local hospitals.
“There are many people who I get called to provide a bedside consultation to who have been through an incredibly traumatic event. Often they are not ready to make big life decisions, and have been made to feel like they are all alone by their abuser.
I let them know that there are resources and people ready to help them. I’ve seen it plant a seed of hope that there can be a safe way out of an unhealthy relationship,” Mladenka T., WINGS Hospital Site Coordinator shares.
Abused women make up approximately 11%-30% of women presenting at hospital emergency departments. Often repeat patients, a 2015 study of United States emergency department visits found that found that as many as 38% of all women seen in the emergency room reported experiencing domestic violence in the previous year.
WINGS Hospital Program has seen a huge increase in need. In just the last six months, one WINGS Hospital Site Coordinator made 115 bedside calls, a 102% increase over the previous six months in which 57 were made.
WINGS Hospital Program identifies domestic violence survivors, who might otherwise go unserved. Through this program, a WINGS Hospital Site Coordinator is on-site to provide bedside consultation and safety planning to patients disclosing that they are experiencing domestic violence.
All patients receiving bedside consultations obtain a list of resources small enough to fit in a shoe, safety planning guidance, and the opportunity to continue counseling at the hospital. If a patient is ready to leave their abuser, the Hospital Site Coordinator can refer the patient to WINGS domestic violence shelters or another shelter with availability.
Through providing empowering resources, life-saving safety planning, and counseling services, patients are provided with knowledge that they are not alone and that help is available when they are ready to access it.
Training for Healthcare Professionals
Another extremely important function of WINGS Hospital Site Coordinators is to provide training to health care professionals and first responders about properly identifying potential victims. Over the last year, more than 60 trainings were given to 1,500 hospital medical staff or community members.
The agency’s Hospital Program operates out of four hospitals in Chicago’s Northwest Suburbs: Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights, Illinois; AMITA Health St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates, Illinois; and AMITA Health Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. The program was recently expanded to AMITA Health Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.
First Hand Feedback
Emily*, a WINGS Hospital Program participant, shares her heartfelt experience with the program:
“The main reason I did not leave was my financial situation. I was/am scared of finding myself and my two children on the street. I have been trying to escape the horrors of living in an abusive environment once and for all.
When I was most vulnerable, in desperate need, and feeling completely isolated, WINGS Hospital Program staff gave me my first feathers of hope. They have provided me with resources, one of them being pantry items to keep me afloat. My children and I have benefited from the kindness of these good-hearted folks, which has given me a sense of relief in a chaotic environment of survival.”
How You Can Help
In April 2019 alone, one WINGS Hospital Site Coordinator was called to provide 30 bedside consultations and safety planning sessions to domestic violence survivors. This is a three-fold increase over the same month in 2018.
As the need for WINGS Hospital program continues to grow, the agency needs funding to continue to provide these life-saving services. Click here to make a donation today.
*WINGS uses representative names and photos to protect the dignity and security of those we serve.