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  • Dr. Emma Galloway MD CCFP

Should you screen for IPV? (Hint: Canadian and US guidelines disagree)


  • What is the current Canadian recommendation for IPV?

  • List THREE risk factors for IPV or elder abuse

  • List FOUR conditions that could be triggered by abuse

The Canadian Task Force on Preventative Healthcare (CTFPHC) is another great source of national guidelines -- even for subjects you might not expect. Most of you have probably seen their breast cancer and diabetes screening guidelines. But did you know they also sometimes review external guidelines for validity and applicability in Canada?

For an example, look to their review of American guidelines for screening for intimate partner violence. While the US Preventative Services Task Force recommends screening for IPV, the CTFPHC does not believe the evidence supports routinely screening Canadians for either intimate partner violence or abuse of elderly or vulnerable adults. This is in line with current WHO recommendations.

How do we then detect cases of IPV or elder abuse? Be on the lookout for risk factors -- low socioeconomic status, history of abuse, social isloation. Be on the lookout for conditions which could be triggered by abuse -- substance use disorder, anxiety, depression, PTSD.

Have a look at the CTFPHC website; there is a whole section on appraised external guidelines some of which you may find highly applicable to Canadian practice.

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