Utilisation of health care by women who have suffered abuse: a descriptive study on medical records in family practice.
until further notice
SourceBritish Journal of General Practice, 57, 538, (2007), pp. 396-400
Article / Letter to editor
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British Journal of General Practice
SubjectEBP 3: Effective Primary Care and Public Health; IGMD 5: Health aging / healthy living; NCEBP 7: Effective primary care and public health
BACKGROUND: Female patients, abused by their partner, are heavy users of medical services. To date, valid indicators of partner abuse of women are lacking. AIM: To outline the healthcare utilisation in family practice of women who have suffered abuse, and compare this to the average female population in family practice. DESIGN OF STUDY: As part of a primary study on the role of family doctors in recognising and managing partner abuse a retrospective study was performed. Anonymised data from the electronic medical records of women who have suffered abuse were collected over the period January 2001-July 2004. These data were compared to those from the average female population of the Second Dutch National Survey in General Practice 2001 (DNSGP-2). SETTING: Family practices in Rotterdam and surrounding areas in 2004. METHOD: The numbers of consultations and prescriptions for pain medication, tranquillisers and antidepressants of women who have suffered abuse (n = 92) were compared to those of the female population of the DNSGP-2 (n = 210 071). The presented health problems and referrals of the studied group were examined. RESULTS: Pain, in all its manifestations, appeared to be the most frequently presented health problem. Compared to the female population of the DNSGP-2, in all age categories, women who have suffered abuse consult their family doctor almost twice as often and receive three to seven times more pain medication. CONCLUSION: A doubled consultation frequency, chronic pain and an excessively high number of prescriptions for pain medication are characteristics of healthcare utilisation of women have been abused in this study. These findings contribute to the development of the concept of the 'symptomatic' female patient.
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