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The Hardin Memorial Health Foun­dation recently received $221,000 in federal grant funding from the Victims of Crime and Violence Against Women acts.

The funding will allow the hospital to expand its Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program and recruit and hire more examiners, provide training, employ a program manager and create a new position for a sexual assault care coordinator, who will provide needed follow-up care for sexual assault patients, according to a news release from the organization.

“The sexual assault care coordinator will oversee and coordinate medical, counseling and social care for sexual assault patients during and after their initial exam,” said registered nurse Sarah Tovar, the hospital’s SANE program manager. “This trained professional will also provide patients with reassurance and support as well as education to promote self-care. Because of this grant, HMH can now provide a complete continuum of patient care.”

Over the past three years, the foundation has raised more than $400,000 for the hospital’s SANE program.

Hardin Memorial, one of eight emergency department-based SANE programs in Kentucky listed with the International Association of Forensic Nursing, offers patients 12 trained examiners who provide around-the-clock coverage. This year, the hospital cared for 104 sexual assault victims from across Central Kentucky, an 108-percent increase in volume over 2017, the release said.

Hospital Vice President for Emer­gency Services Deanna Parker attributed the dramatic increase, in part, to improved community awareness of sexual assault prevention and about services offered at Hardin Memorial. The newly expanded emergency department is equipped with specially designed exam rooms dedicated to sexual assault victims, providing the privacy patients need.

According to Parker, research shows more than 70 percent of sexual assaults are not reported.

“It is unfortunate HMH needs a SANE program, but we are so glad our foundation can help HMH expand services for victims here, close to home,” hospital foundation Chairman Joe Prather said in the release.

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