The Forensic Unit at Shady Grove Medical Center is Here to Help
As our community continues to feel the effects of COVID-19, one of those is a rise in domestic abuse. With everyone isolated at home, the opportunity for violence is increased.
“Unfortunately, the coronavirus restrictions are causing domestic violence and child abuse rates to rise across the country,” said Jessica Volz, director of the Forensic Medical Unit at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center. The unit is the only one of its kind in Montgomery County, Maryland, with nurses specially trained to care for victims of abuse, assault, neglect and human trafficking.
Our community is no exception to this. The unit has seen approximately a 15% increase in patients accessing services over this last year. The continued stress and uncertainty around health, job loss, finances and more are amplifying people’s emotions and actions. It is important to remember that not everyone is in a safe place, has a safe place to go, or has the support of family and friends.
How to Get Help
Katie Swift, a nurse practitioner with the Forensic Medical Unit, wants anyone experiencing abuse to know they are not alone. The unit’s nurses are available at the hospital to help. While some people may be hesitant to seek care at a hospital now, she says the unit is taking extra precautions to ensure that care is delivered in the safest way possible. This includes establishing a way for patients to call in advance before coming to the hospital. The team is available 24/7 to answer any questions or concerns.
“If you or anyone you know needs help, please do not hesitate to contact us and please do not delay seeking care,” Katie says. Anyone who may need the Forensic Medical Unit’s help or services can call 240-826-6225. The unit also assists those who come to the hospital through the Emergency Department and can schedule appointments in advance.