Optimizing Interdisciplinary Care of Pediatric Sexual Assault and Abuse in the Emergency Department: A Quality Improvement Approach

Lisa Mathey*, Kate Balsley, Sheila Hickey MSW, Kirsten Simonton, Jose Celio, Yiannis L. Katsogridakis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago identified issues with team communication, consistency of services provided, and continuity of care within the sexual abuse and assault program in the emergency department (ED) which necessitated improvement efforts. The aim of this project was to engage an interdisciplinary team to define and delineate roles and streamline clinical workflows from ED presentation to nonacute follow-up. An interdisciplinary team was convened and utilized quality improvement methodology to complete a current state analysis, develop a future state design, and prioritize interventions for improvement. The project team focused on four interventions: (1) establish a team approach with delineated roles and responsibilities; (2) develop and implement consistent workflows to reduce unwarranted variation in care; (3) expand education on the sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) program more broadly to the care teams in the ED; and (4) implement clinical decision support (CDS) tools to streamline the continuum of sexual assault services provided. Three of the interventions (all but education) were carried out as a comprehensive care guideline for patients presenting to the ED for evaluation. The ED implemented this care guideline in August 2019. The utilization of quality improvement methodology was effective in ensuring an organized, interdisciplinary team response for the evaluation of pediatric and adolescent sexual abuse and assault in the ED. It enabled strong buy-in from team members and ownership of the process with anticipated improvements in patient care and experiences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100799
JournalClinical Pediatric Emergency Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • child sexual abuse
  • quality improvement
  • sexual assault

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Emergency Medicine


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