the social work department. Health care providers should not refer victims to couples counseling, marital counseling, and/or mediation services; these are all contraindicated in cases of domestic violence. (See Guiding Principles, 1.i.)
g.For patients who are victims of domestic violence and who are also alcohol/other drug-involved, health care providers should be alert to the possibility of prescription drug abuse and/or addiction and should weigh carefully the risks and benefits of prescribing drugs to victims for symptom relief.
Many chemically dependent victims begin to use substances as a way to manage their fear and cope with the physical and emotional effects of the battering. The success of a safety strategy, however, can be compromised by continued drug use. Health care providers who prescribe medications should carefully weigh the benefits of a given drug against the possible negative effects of that same drug. Particular attention should be given to medications that may affect a victim's cognitive or motor abilities in such a way that she may be compromised in her ability to protect herself from a physical assault, flee from a violent attack, or otherwise respond quickly to a potentially life-threatening situation.
In addition, the success of substance abuse treatment can be compromised by continued violence. An important role, therefore, for health care providers is helping a victim make the connection, when appropriate, between her health problems and the battering. It is helpful to acknowledge the role that the chemicals may play in victims' attempts to cope with the violence and to express a willingness to assist women in accessing help for both problems. Inform the patient that her alcohol or other drug use is not the cause of the violence though her partner may use that as an excuse for his violent behavior. Accurate and supportive information can empower her to make decisions that enhance her safety and therefore reduce her risk of future injury and illness. (See Substance Abuse Treatment System.)
h.Health care providers engaged in discharge planning should ensure that any patient who is an identified victim of domestic violence or who the health care provider strongly believes is a victim of domestic violence, has a safe place to go upon discharge.
Under hospital requirements from the NYS Department of Health, Title X Rules and Regulations Part 405.9 10 NYCRR, hospitals are required to ensure that each patient has a discharge plan which meets the patient's post-hospital needs. In addition, the hospital is responsible for ensuring that the discharge planning staff have current information