• home health services;
  • interventions;
  • nursing staff;
  • public health nursing;
  • spouse abuse

ABSTRACT Objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine the experience of home health nursing personnel (HHNP) in identifying wife abuse and intervening with victims during home health visits, and to analyze responses to a what-if scenario involving visiting a woman who implies her husband is abusive.

Design: A cross-sectional, descriptive design with a questionnaire survey was used and included the public health nurse's practice response to women who are abused (PHNR).

Sample: From 243 public health centers nationwide, 373 HHNPs participated.

Results: Over the past year, 31.6% had identified abused women (average of 2.2 victims per HHNP) and 12.3% had intervened. The mean score for the PHNR was 55.76 (out of a possible 80), indicating higher value on thoughts, feelings, and actions to support abused women. Significant differences were found in the mean scores for age and position (nurse or nurse aide). The mean percentage of correct PHNR responses was 70.4%. The results showed a low level of competency and difficulty in initiating the topic of abuse, and a higher level of understanding methods to approach abused women. Time limit was not a hindrance to intervention.

Conclusions: The findings indicate the need for education programs to increase self-efficacy and promote effective recognition and interventions for these women.