I have been an RN for fourteen years now, mostly ER. At every facility where I have worked, we were told that we ALWAYS reported assaults involving adults. Obviously, you always report child abuse. Anyway, I am at a new facility, and I had an adult young female present to the ER with her boyfriend hitting her, and she wanted to be checked. The incident happened in the city. I called the appropriate authorities. She did not press charges. Another nurse at this facility told me that mandatory reporting does not apply to adults unless it involves elder abuse. I looked up the statute and to my surprise, the Texas Family Code, Title 4, Chapter 91, states that if an adult patient presents with assault and you suspect family violence, then you are only obligated to give them info relating to shelters, hotlines, etc, and that you should chart your findings. So…. here is my question…. is the “mandatory reporting” of assaults a facility specific policy? Please advise. Thank you.
In WA we are not allowed to call the police for an adult victim unless they want us to call (except for elder abuse, then we are mandatory reporters.)
When I first started working ER, I thought we had to report domestic violence and called the police about a patient who did not want me to call. I had to apologize to her and ask if she wanted to file a complaint against me (thankfully she didn’t.)
I don’t think any facility can go against what the state law says. The law either says you must call and the facility can’t tell you not to, or the state law doesn’t say you must call, in which case it would be a violation of privacy to call anyway.
I could see how some people who needed medical care would not come to the ER if we took the choice away from them, so while I would like to call in cases of domestic violence, I can see why I’m not allowed to call.
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