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Penn State hospitals bring new support for sexual assault survivors

(WHTM) — Penn State Health Hampden and Holy Spirit Medical Centers are launching a partnership to enhance support for sexual assault survivors. The two hospitals are partnering with Penn State’s Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing to enhance support for these patients through secure telehealth technology. Registered nurses in the emergency departments at both hospitals who have completed Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) training are joining with the College’s Sexual Assault Forensic Examination Telehealth (SAFE-T) Systems. SAFE-T Systems, which is part of the Nese College of Nursing’s SAFE-T Center, serves rural and underserved areas through telehealth and facilitates the development of locally-based sexual assault treatment teams. SANEs are specially trained in medical forensic examination to provide a high level of care and support for victims seeking treatment after a sexual assault. These nurses have completed a training course and are on-call for the Hampden Medical Center and Holy Spirit Medical Center emergency departments 24/7. SANEs provide comprehensive, trauma-informed, person-centered sexual assault forensic examination care. The SAFE-T Systems technology allows teleSANE experts to interact on video with the SANE in the exam room, as well as the patient and the advocate, all through a secure telehealth connection. The team works together to provide patients with thoughtful, compassionate care. The SAFE-T Center is launched with support from the federal Health Resources & Services Administration to enhance access to high-quality sexual assault care in underserved communities. Through working with district attorneys and law enforcement, SAFE-T strengthens forensic evidence collection and documentation, as well as ongoing training and peer support for SANEs. Nurses that have completed sexual assault-sane training are joining the NESE College of Nursing’s Sexual assault Forensic Telehealth Safe-T Systems. The technology and the caregiver using it provides a second set of eyes to deliver expert care for survivors of sexual assault in the Midstate. “It allowed us to get more nurses involved in this, knowing that they have that backing and support because going in alone is very nerve-racking,” ER Nurse Manager, Liz Knauss said.