The following article is part of coverage from the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners Annual Meeting (NAPNAP 2020). Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Association made the necessary decision to cancel the meeting originally scheduled for March 25 to 28, 2020, in Long Beach, CA. While live events will not proceed as planned, readers can click here to catch up on the latest research intended to be presented at the meeting.

Pediatric victims of sexual assault have complex health care needs and may require in- depth assessments, evaluation, and management. The initiation of the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) has resulted in a more expedited and comprehensive approach to the care of each patient, according to a poster presented virtually at the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners Annual Meeting (NAPNAP 2020).

Prior to the initiation of the team, pediatric victims were often cared for in adult units. “Through case reviews during monthly quality improvement meetings it became evident that fragmented provision of services as well as significant delays in access to care were widespread to the ultimate detriment of this vulnerable pediatric population,” reported Jennifer Molnar, MSN, PNP-BC, CPNP-AC, SANE-P, lead author of the study.

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A multidisciplinary team of emergency medicine physicians, child abuse experts, advanced practice providers, nurses, child life specialists, social workers, and pharmacists formed SART in 2014 to repair the fragmented care that pediatric victims of sexual assault were experiencing. The team implemented a SMS messaging system to alert all stakeholders of the presentation of a sexual assault patient to the emergency department, which would trigger a “huddle” of the team within 10 minutes. The message includes the patient medical record number, room number, and call back number. The hospital’s information technology team created a sexual assault notification page that is dispensed to the multidisciplinary team requesting a response to the emergency department charge nurse from each team member.

In 2014, 48% of patients who presented to CHOP had a sexual assault notification page sent out at the time of presentation. During all SART leadership meetings, simulations, and ongoing education sessions, the system was updated and expanded to include new team members and specialists as warranted all while keeping the approach to care in mind. In 2019, 98% of pediatric patients presenting to the emergency department for sexual assault had the SART SMS page sent out; this resulted in a more comprehensive approach to the care of each patient as well as managing their follow-up needs.

“Data reveals both seasoned and newly recruited team members have improved the overall patient outcome via educational efforts linked to [quality improvement] monitoring, data analysis, expert review of guidelines, practices and individual care episodes,” stated the authors. “Areas we strive to increase optimization include a standardized notification system, systematic examination approach, multi-disciplinary care coordination, and a consistent forensic evidence collection processes.”

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Schmitt TM. Molnar J, Rockey A, DiGirolamo S, et al. Intention of huddle to expedite care of pediatric sexual assault patients. Presented virtually at: NAPNAP 2020; June 4-5, 2020. Abstract TH15.