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Nurse Case Management for Pregnant Women Experiencing or at Risk for Abuse


Mary Ann Curry, RN, DNSc, School of Nursing, Oregon Health & Science University, 3455 SW US Veterans Road, Portland, OR 97239-2941.


Objective:  To determine whether individualized nursing case management can decrease stress among pregnant women at risk for or in abusive relationships.

Design:  A multisite randomized controlled trial.

Setting:  Two prenatal clinics in the Pacific Northwest and rural Midwest.

Participants:  1,000 women who spoke English and were 13 to 23 weeks pregnant at time of recruitment.

Intervention:  All intervention group women (N= 499) were offered an abuse video and had access to a nurse case manager 24/7. Additionally, participants at risk for or in abusive relationships received individualized nursing care management throughout the pregnancy.

Results:  The most frequent nursing care management activities were providing support (38%) and assessing needs (32%). The nursing care management group received an average of 22 contacts, most (80%) by telephone and had a significant reduction in stress scores as measured by the Prenatal Psychosocial Profile. Compared to the control group, the differences were in the predicted direction, but not statistically different. A major finding was the choice by abused women to focus on basic needs and their pregnancies rather than the abuse, although all received safety planning.

Conclusions:  Pregnant women at risk for or in abusive relationships experience very stressful and complex lives. Nurses need to focus on the needs they identify, which may not be the abusive relationship. JOGNN, 35, 181-192; 2006. DOI: 10.1111/j.1552-6909.2006.00027.x