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Inpatient detox to help AOD rehabilitation

Northeast Health Wangaratta has opened its first inpatient bed for planned detox from alcohol and other drugs (AOD).

female nurse consultant Charlotte Byrne stood in medical ward holding files.
NHW Drug and Alcohol Clinical Nurse Consultant, Charlotte Byrne

Months of careful planning preceded the first admission last week, which will dedicate one bed to supervised withdrawal.  A bed has also been funded at Albury Wodonga Health.

Northeast Health Drug and Alcohol Clinical Nurse Consultant, Charlotte Byrne, said the service would support local rehabilitation services, such as the 30-bed residential service based in Wangaratta.

“This has been a gap in our local area for a very long time and will support efforts for people to access residential rehabilitation services in this region as well as across the state,” Charlotte said.

“Rehabilitation programs generally require a person to withdraw from the substance/s before their admission to that service and, until now, there has been no local option to do that.”

“It has required people to be referred to Melbourne or interstate, which can be a barrier to their recovery.

Referred patients will undergo a pre-admission process prior to being given a bed date,  which includes a patient agreement and an opportunity to discuss the service in detail in order to establish the best footing for success.

“One of the positives of a planned admission is that we have a lot more information about the person before they arrive at hospital.  This allows us to start treatment early and provide a flexible and well understood structure around treatment and response.

“There is medical risk that comes with certain substances and withdrawal.  For example, alcohol withdrawal, at its most severe, can be life-threatening so people require regular medication and nursing care to ensure their detox is safe and effective.”

As AOD Clinical Nurse Consultant, Charlotte will manage waiting lists and referrals, meet with patients before admission and then review them each day, helping guide the medical and allied health teams around their needs and management during their hospital stay.”

Executive Director of Clinical Operations, Bernadette Hammond said Northeast Health had undertaken a detailed process around planning and education with staff to ensure the service was ready for regular admissions.

“We have planned for a weekly admission cycle and established a model of care based on established best practice,” Bernadette said.

“I commend our staff for their great work in developing the scope of practice for this service and we’re really pleased to be able to offer this much-needed service.

“We know there is strong demand and hope having detox available locally will have a positive impact on people’s pathway to recovery.”