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Primary Care Interventions to Prevent Child Maltreatment: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement FREE

[+] Article and Author Information

The full report is titled “Primary Care Interventions to Prevent Child Maltreatment: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement.” It is in the 20 August 2013 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine (volume 159, pages 289-295). The author is V.A. Moyer, on behalf of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

This article was published at www.annals.org on 11 June 2013.


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Ann Intern Med. 2013;159(4):I-30. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-159-4-201308200-00676
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Who developed these recommendations?

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) is a group of health experts that reviews published research and makes recommendations about preventive health care.

What is the problem and what is known about it so far?

In 2011, approximately 680,000 children were confirmed victims of child maltreatment and approximately 1,570 died of maltreatment. Child maltreatment refers to physical or psychological abuse or neglect. Harmful outcomes of child maltreatment include physical injury, long-term medical and psychological problems, and death. When the USPSTF last issued recommendations on screening for family violence in 2004, it was unclear whether doctors should screen for child maltreatment or other types of family violence as part of routine health care. Screening is looking for a condition in patients who have no signs or symptoms of that condition. The USPSTF wanted to update the recommendations on the basis of information that has become available since 2004.

How did the USPSTF develop these recommendations?

The USPSTF reviewed published research about the benefits and harms of interventions to prevent child maltreatment. Potential benefits are reduced exposure to maltreatment and reduced harms to physical or mental health or death. A potential harm is an increased risk for further harm to the child.

What did the authors find?

The USPSTF found inadequate evidence that primary care interventions can prevent child maltreatment among children who do not already have signs or symptoms of it.

What does the USPSTF recommend that patients and doctors do?

The USPSTF concludes that there is not enough evidence to recommend for or against primary care interventions to prevent maltreatment for children who have no signs or symptoms of it. However, even though the USPSTF cannot provide a definite recommendation about interventions to prevent child maltreatment, doctors and other clinicians should be familiar with the signs and symptoms of child maltreatment and know what to do when they suspect that a patient is a victim.

What are the cautions related to these recommendations?

Recommendations may change as new studies become available. Some other organizations do recommend including questions about family violence as a routine part of health care visits. Health care providers should know that reporting child abuse is mandatory in all states.

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