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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Study: Newly Discharged Patients At Risk For Suicide and Death From Overdose

Discharge planning...
Being discharged following a hospital stay is a routine process for most medical procedures and disease treatment. Patients are given what are called "discharge instructions" and a medical professional reviews these instructions with the patient and/or their family. Typically, these instructions include such items as activity restrictions, diet guidelines, medication management, follow-up appointments, and what to do if your symptoms worsen.

The first few days or weeks following a medical discharge can be the most critical. This is true, too, for drug users getting discharged from a hospital. A new study looked at suicide rates and overdose risk within the first 30 days post discharge compared to those who had been out of the hospital for at least one year. The rate for the former was 10 times higher than for the latter.

Reuters is reporting that this study, published in the journal Addiction, "A record-linkage study of drug-related death and suicide after hospital discharge amount drug-treatment clients in Scotland, 1996-2006" looked at the records of 70,000 patients in Scotland who had been treated for some type of substance abuse.
"In the first 28 days, there were 21 drug-related deaths per 1,000 people per year, compared to 4.2 per 1,000 people a year or more later. The overdose rate was even lower among users who had never been hospitalized."
According to Reuters news article, Dr. Patrick G. O'Connor, not part of the study's research team, but addiction expert at Yale School of Medicine, when asked about the study offered these observations:
  • It's possible that drug users, particularly those dependent on heroin or prescription opioids, start binging after they get out of the hospital or lose some of their drug tolerance at the hospital, making it easier to overdose.
  • You do start to lose some tolerance right away...I think the loss of tolerance is a contributor, but there are probably other factors as well.
  • For drug users who leave the hospital, we need to be able to provide instantaneous and tight linkages for these patients to at least three services: primary care services, social services and drug treatment services.
The truth is the disease of addiction left untreated is terminal. That is why here at Whiteside Manor we do discharge planning and offer aftercare for all patients who complete alcohol and drug treatment. We offer affordable treatment in Southern California and our treatment includes a family program, as addiction is a family disease.

A complete, supportive continuum of care...

Whiteside Manor provides a weekly aftercare program for graduates at no cost. The aftercare program consists of a weekly group facilitated by an experienced counselor who helps guide clients in their recovery efforts, assisting them in meeting the goals contained in their continuing care plans. Aftercare is a forum in which clients may explore success, obstacles and day to day issues that confront them, receiving feedback and support from the group facilitator and other participants. In addition, graduates are encouraged to participate in relapse prevention groups, 12-Step meetings in the community and reside in Sober-Living Homes when appropriate.

Recovery is possible...one day at a time. 

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