New unit to aid alcohol, opiate addicts - September 24, 2013

Courtesy of The Times Newspaper

GARY  |  People who need a safe place to withdraw from alcohol and opiate addiction have a new resource in the Region.

Methodist Hospitals Northlake campus unveiled a medical stabilization unit the first week in September.

A closed part of the hospital was renovated and opened as the new 13-bed unit with 24-hour care, said Jennifer Williams, supervisor of the unit.

It averages five to six patients a day so far, she said.

The intake staff are certified addiction counselors, and the nurses have previous experience with substance abuse patients.

“In years past, they’ve had substance abuse services, but this is a new concept in how to approach it,” Williams said.

The unit is open to adults who are motivated to break their addiction.

“Substance abuse is a present and growing issue in every community and at every income level,” said Dr. Aaron Johns, intermin medical director of the unit, in a statement. “Medical stabilization is a key first step in effective long-term addiction management.”

The process allows people to withdrawal from alcohol, opiates and related health issues in a medically monitored environment.

Patients stay in the unit three to four days on average, Williams said. The type of patient admitted to the unit tends to be a person of higher risk for medical complications, she said.

People are hearing about the stabilization program through word of mouth, along with physician and community agency referrals.

Staff members evaluate whether each person will be a good fit before being admitted. If not, they can help the person find other resources, including in Illinois, Williams said.

Patients are asked to call (219) 886-5960 and talk to an intake staff member before arriving at the hospital for treatment.

The discharge process includes referrals for further treatment.

“We are proud to be able to offer these much needed services to our community in order to improve the odds of successful recovery to our patients,” stated Ian McFadden, CEO and President of Methodist Hospitals.