Investigating Gun Violence and Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Programs in the Youth Population at Lurie Children's Hospital
Gun violence is a public health problem that primarily impacts adolescents and People of Color. Hospital Based Violence Intervention Programs (HVIPs) are formalized interventions with patients who have experienced violence with the goal to prevent future violence. For this project, I will focus on patients affected by firearm violence. There is currently no HVIP in place at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Childrens Hospital of Chicago (Lurie Childrens). The purpose of this project is to summarize current literature recommendations for youth HVIP structure and initiation, summarize current Lurie Childrens firearm trauma patient demographics and current practices at Lurie Childrens in treatment of these patients, and to provide recommendations for Lurie Childrens to begin implementing a HVIP. This was accomplished through a literature search, chart review of Lurie Childrens firearm trauma patients via the electronic medical record, and through interviews with Lurie Childrens emergency department (ED) staff members. From 2013 to 2018, a total of 34 patients were seen in the Lurie Childrens ED for an initial encounter due to injury from a firearm, and the majority was hospitalized (average hospital length of stay was 4.3 days); half of the incidents were intentional in nature. Firearm-injured patients ages ranged from less than 1 year of age to 16 years old. The mean age was 12.5 years with a standard deviation of 3.7 years. 64.7% of patients were non-Hispanic Black, and 29.4% of patients were Hispanic/Latino. Only one patient was white. The majority (82.4%) of firearm-injured patients were male. 100% of firearm-injured patients were seen by a social worker either in the ED or during their hospitalization. Other services provided included case management, spiritual care, child life services, and other mental health care. From staff interviews, I learned that social workers perform risk assessments of firearm-injured patients and provide resources to these patients, and that social workers felt overworked. Additionally, staff members were open to the possibility implementing a HVIP. As such, my initial recommendations to Lurie Childrens for HVIP preparation include identifying a high-risk target population, investing in additional social work and case management resources, and forming partnerships with community organizations. These findings will be presented to the relevant stakeholders (Lurie Childrens staff or administration) via email.