Stabbings and Gunshot Wounds as a Public Health Problem
SF Wraparound Director, Dr. Rochelle Dicker provides insight into the growth of hospital intervention programs for patients who are injured as a result of violence. The following Washington Post article reports that patients with gunshot or stab wounds are more likely to be re-injured, especially if their circumstances do not change after injury. In addition to being more likely to face issues of domestic violence, mental illness, and substance abuse, a lack of stable housing and poverty are stressors that can result in health problems. Research finds that the need for intervention is sensible on both a public health and cost-effectiveness standpoint, as those patients who participate in violence prevention programs are less likely to return to the hospital.
So far, there isn’t much research measuring such programs’ effectiveness. But the findings that are available show promise.
UCSF found that people who had come to the hospital with a gunshot or stab wound and then participated in the intervention program were far less likely to get injured again. The number of patients returning with another violent injury dropped from 16 percent to 4.5 percent.
And in a paper published last year, researchers estimated that the program would save the hospital half a million dollars annually.
That’s crucial. “It’s very important to be able to talk about cost-effectiveness” as hospitals look to curb expenses, Dicker said.