Mercy Hospital Foundation of Independence has been named one of 20 recipients across the Sisters of Mercy Health System ministry of grant funding to support community outreach programs. The foundation applied to Mercy for the “Mercy Caritas” grant on behalf of the hospital to support its new Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program, which will provide specialized care for victims of sexual assault.
Mercy recently began the process of training selected hospital nurses through the International Association of Forensic Nurses SANE certification program. The training educates nurses on the appropriate collection of forensic evidence in the course of examinations of sexual assault victims, and also prepares them for the responsibility of providing clinical testimony, if necessary, in court cases.
The grant, totaling $13,949, will be available July 1 and will be used to purchase specialized equipment for victim exams, including a “colposcope,” an examination device equipped with a camera sensitive enough to capture images of anatomical injuries that may not be readily apparent to the naked eye. The grant also will help fund additional nurse training in the coming year.
Patti Doncouse, Mercy Emergency Department director, explained that Mercy will be one of very few hospitals in southeast Kansas with an active, full-time SANE program available, which will be a benefit to victims who otherwise might require transportation many miles outside their familiar surroundings for treatment.
“Providing care to individuals who are marginalized in society – be it due to social or economic factors or even violence – is the core of our Mercy mission,” Doncouse explained. “We are pleased to offer a certified SANE program in which we can not only help facilitate positive legal outcomes for victims through appropriate collection of evidence, but we can also provide holistic, compassionate care to those individuals in the context of our ministry.”
Since 1988, Mercy has awarded annual Caritas grants – today totaling more than $8.5 million to communities across Mercy. The Latin word “caritas” means charity. In all, $500,000 in Caritas grants was awarded for the coming year, with an additional $100,000 awarded through the Catherine McAuley Area of Greatest Need grant, which is funded by Mercy corporate co-worker donations and bears the name of Mercy Foundress Catherine McAuley.