A health facility in Portland, Oregon, started treating addiction like it was any other disease a few years ago. Recently, the hospital said that the new approach triggered a ‘sea of change’ for both medics and patients.
A research paper about the new approach was published this week in Journal of Hospital Medicine.
Honora Englander invented the new approach after she noticed that many drug addicts died after seeking medical help for a condition related to substance abuse. Those addicts often came to the hospital, got treated, and returned with another condition months later. Many of those people eventually died of the addiction.
Dr. Englander thought about giving the patients more chances and try and save their lives. She conducted a survey and found that most patients really wanted to quit the addiction or cut back on the abuse. Many were eager to start therapy and take drugs that could lower withdrawal symptoms.
In July 2015, the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) unlocked funding for Englander’s proposed program called Improving Addiction Care Team (IMPACT).
Program Gives Hope to Medics and Patients Alike
Under the new program, medics that are treating addiction can put substance abusers in touch with counselors, drug addiction specialists, and social workers if those patients are willing. The hospital has even offered those patients the possibility to begin medication-assisted therapy (MAT) at the facility.
Many patients also had the opportunity to get counseling and emotional support from mentors that beat addiction themselves.
A recent survey among medics revealed that OSHU healthcare providers no longer sense chaos, frustration, or futility when dealing with addicts. Many of them described the outcomes of the program as a “sea of change.”
People involved in IMPACT were trained to see drug addiction like any other disorder that can be treated if the patient is willing, and most patients were willing.
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