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Type of submission: Oral
Conference track: Practice
Topics: Harm Reduction Services and Service Provision; Integrated Harm Reduction Services
Presenting author: Karen Amanda Frampton
Lene Bruun Damgaard, Nina Brünés, Gitte Theill Sørensen, Karen Amanda Frampton
Patients addicted to drugs and alcohol often experience a problematic hospitalization. They often suffer from multiple health issues, and have a significant higher mortality.
Hospital staff may describe this patient group as difficult and challenging. Interactions between patient and hospital staff can be characterized by lack of trust and prejudice.
This group often experiences inadequate pain or withdrawal treatment, conflicts, rules that are not practiced on other patients, and lack of information. Premature discharge from hospital can be the consequence. These patients have many contacts with the ER and multiple readmissions.
The function ”social nurse” started in 2006 as a pilot project at a major Danish hospital. 14 hospitals in Denmark have implemented the social nurse function.
The target group is socially marginalized patients addicted to drugs and/or alcohol. The function includes assistance and recommendations to health care professionals at hospitals.
The social nurse supports the patient throughout the admission, participates in ward rounds, coordinates discharge, and participates in outpatient checkups. The social nurse coordinates with rehabilitation centers, hostels, outreach teams, shelters, low threshold facilities, etc.
The focus for the social nurse is that the patient receives treatment in a proper and dignified manner. The social nurse shares professional knowledge about the target group with health professionals to avoid the staff’s prejudice and lack of knowledge being an obstacle for these patients completing their hospital treatment and outpatient checkups.
Each year several thousand hospitalized patients with addiction are given support by a social nurse. Interdisciplinary and intersectional cooperative partners consider the social nurses important partners in the care and treatment of patients with addiction during hospitalization. The attitude towards and treatment of a marginalized group of patients has been improved. Compared to 2006, more patients with addiction now complete their hospital treatment.