Screening for TBI
Increased awareness of TBI can lead to better outcomes for abused women.
Domestic violence service providers should screen everyone who seeks services for TBI, and, when a TBI is suspected, refer for specialized screening, evaluation, and services.
The HELPS5 is a brief TBI screening tool that was designed to be used by professionals who are not TBI experts. "HELPS" is an acronym for the most important parts of screening:
H = Hit in the head E = Emergency room treatment L = Loss of consciousness P = Problems with concentration and memory S = Sickness or other physical problems following injury
H = Hit on head
Did your partner ever:
____ Hit you in the face or head? With what?
____ Slam your head into a wall or another object?
____ Push you so that you fell and hit your head?
____ Shake you?
____ Try to strangle or choke you, or do anything else that made it hard for you to breathe?
____ Injure your face, head or throat in any other way?
____ Has he done these things more than once?
E = Emergency room treatment
Did you ever go to the emergency room after your partner assaulted you? Why?
____ Did they ask whether you had been hit on the head or say that they suspected that you had a head injury or concussion?
____ Did they ask you about domestic violence?
____ Did you think you got all the treatment you needed?
____ Was there ever a time when you thought you should go to the ER after an injury to your head, but didn’t go because you couldn’t afford it or your partner wouldn’t let you?
L = Loss of consciousness
____ Did you ever lose consciousness or black out as a result of your partner’s violence??
P = Problems
____ Have you been having trouble concentrating or remembering things?
____ Are you having trouble finishing things you start to do?
____ Have people told you that you’re not acting like yourself?
____ Have you been having trouble doing what you need to do at work, school, or home?
____ Are you having mood swings that you don’t understand?
____ Has it gotten harder for you to function when you’re under stress?
____ Does your partner use any of these things as an excuse to abuse you?
S = Sickness
____ Have you had any physical problems since your partner assaulted you? What kind?
____ Do you have any recurring headaches or fatigue?
____ Have you had any changes in your vision, hearing, or sense of smell or taste?
____ Do you find yourself dizzy or experiencing a lack of balance?
If a victim answers “yes” to questions in two or more categories, help her get a specialized evaluation by a medical or neuropsychological professional. This is particularly important if she has suffered repeated head injuries, which decrease her ability to recover, and may increase her risk of death.