USPSTF Issues Final Research Plan to Screen for Intimate Partner Violence, Elder Abuse, and Abuse of Vulnerable Adults, Including LGBTQ Population


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On August 25, 2016, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) posted a final research plan on screening for intimate partner violence, elder abuse, and abuse of vulnerable adults. The draft research plan for this topic was posted for public comment from May 26 to June 22, 2016. The Task Force reviewed all submitted comments and took them into consideration as it finalized the plan.

Subgroups of Interest Added

Several comments requested that the USPSTF evaluate the evidence for the key questions by specific subpopulations. The USPSTF expanded the population inclusion criteria to search for evidence on important subgroups of interest, including by age, sex, race/ethnicity, pregnancy status, LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning) identification, type of abuse (eg, physical abuse, sexual abuse), history of intimate partner violence, or presence of comorbid conditions. Other comments asked for clarification on whether older and vulnerable adults would be included in the evidence review on screening for intimate partner violence.

Rephrased Terminology

The USPSTF clarified that studies enrolling older adults that focused on screening for or treatment of intimate partner violence would be eligible. Some comments requested that the term “elderly” be replaced with “older adults” when referring to populations and individuals; the USPSTF revised the terminology accordingly.

Other clarifications made based on submitted comments included the addition of ­“retaliation” (from perpetrators of abuse) and ­“labeling or stigma” to the list of potential harms of screening, expanding the types of interventions included (eg, case management), adding “anxiety” as an example of mental trauma, listing financial abuse and exploitation as a category of abuse for both reviews, and defining “vulnerable adults” in the research plan.

Action Plan

The final research plan is used to guide a systematic review of the evidence by researchers at an Evidence-Based Practice Center. The resulting evidence review will form the basis of the USPSTF Recommendation Statement on this topic.

For more information, visit www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org. ■

Disclaimer: Recommendations made by the USPSTF are independent of the U.S. government. They should not be construed as an official position of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


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