Specialized Technology Advances Compassionate Care for Survivors of Sexual Assault
A generous donation from Kimberly-Clark to the ThedaCare Family of Foundations has helped to provide a new, specialized camera for the ThedaCare Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program.
Supported by the ThedaCare Family of Foundations, the ThedaCare SANE program launched in 2016 to provide trauma-informed, compassionate care to survivors of sexual assault and abuse. It’s an incredibly sensitive situation when the SANE-trained nurses come in to help care for the victim, while also assisting law enforcement to gather evidence.
“I’m inspired by the philanthropic support of our community,” said Leah Eckhart RN, BSN, SANE-A, and ThedaCare Clinical Program Specialist for the SANE Program. “With this new piece of equipment, I hope our law enforcement partners will be able to look to us for help with more than sexual assault cases, perhaps situations of domestic abuse, physical abuse and child abuse. We also hope that more of our survivors can receive the justice they deserve.”
“Kimberly-Clark is proud to sponsor ThedaCare’s SANE Program in Wisconsin,” said Russ Torres, Group President of Kimberly-Clark North America. “The program brings an exceptional and important level of care to our community, and we are honored to be able to help expand, and better serve survivors of sexual assault and abuse.”
SANE nurses follow appropriate forensic procedures to arm law enforcement with evidence if it becomes necessary for a court case. Photo evidence is crucial when it comes to prosecuting sexual assault and domestic abuse cases. The camera is a specialized forensic camera and photo storage system. Eckhart explained the camera has several features that make this an incredible asset. This specific type of camera is an upgrade from the SANE program’s current process of capturing photo evidence with an older-model camera with a less advanced image-storing system.
“The addition of the forensic camera and photo storage system allows the SANE program to obtain invaluable photos that benefit trauma survivors across the ThedaCare service area,” said Amanda Charais, Regional Development Director for the ThedaCare Family of Foundations. “For example, this camera has filters that can potentially show bruising which would not likely be seen or captured on a standard camera.”
Eckhart explained they often see patients during some of the worst experiences of their lives. In every situation, team members care for the people with compassion and delicacy.
The camera operates on a foot pedal so the SANE nurses can help document while taking the photos. The camera system comes with secure storage which allows nurses to provide the photos to law enforcement or child advocacy groups through encryption.
The overall impact of this generous gift will benefit the community for years to come.
“Often, our patients come to the exam room alone,” said Eckhart. “I want them to know that they are not leaving the room alone. Our team members provide expert medical forensic care and emotional support as well. And it goes beyond the hospital walls. I hope survivors know that there is an entire community of support standing with them. Generous donations, like the support of Kimberly-Clark, is an example that shows the community wants to help survivors.”
“For more than 24 years, Kimberly-Clark has invested in the health of our community through the ThedaCare Family of Foundations,” said Charais. “We remain incredibly grateful to Kimberly Clark and our other generous donors who understand the value of this important program and community resource.”
Heart of a Donor Series
This article is the second in a planned series featuring generous donors who support the ThedaCare Family of Foundations. Donations to the ThedaCare Family of Foundations help fund projects and programs on many levels across the system.
If you know a donor, or community organization, who has a connection to the ThedaCare Family of Foundations, and believe should be featured in the “Heart of a Donor” series, please email Foundations@thedacare.org. To learn more about the ThedaCare Family of Foundations and the impact of donor support, please visit thedacare.org/Foundations.
For more than 110 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to improving the health of the communities it serves in northeast and central Wisconsin. The organization delivers care to more than 600,000 residents in 17 counties and employs approximately 7,000 health care professionals. ThedaCare has 180 points of care, including seven hospitals. As an organization committed to being a leader in Population Health, team members are dedicated to empowering people to live their best lives through easy access to individualized care, supporting each person’s own health and wellbeing. ThedaCare also partners with communities to understand unique needs, finding solutions together, and encouraging health awareness and action. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care
Network Member, giving specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a not-for-profit health system with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs, as well as primary care.
For more information, visit thedacare.org or follow ThedaCare on social media. Members of the media should call Cassandra Wallace, Public and Media Relations Consultant at 920.442.0328 or the ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah switchboard at 920.729.3100 and ask for the marketing person on call.