UH News

Patients with Drug or Alcohol Addiction Offered Specialized Care at UH Elyria Medical Center

Friday, May 16, 2014

ELYRIA – According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 17.7 million Americans were dependent on or abused alcohol in 2012, while 4.3 million were dependent on marijuana. In Lorain County alone, nearly 23,000 people experienced alcohol or other drug disorders in 2011. Despite these figures, a large treatment gap exists. The NIDA estimated that during 2012, approximately 23.1 million Americans needed treatment for a problem related to drugs or alcohol, but only 2.5 million received treatment at a specialized facility. That is why University Hospitals Elyria Medical Center implemented a program at the hospital that provides specialized treatment for patients with drug and/or alcohol dependency issues.

“Our nurses and hospital staff voiced concern that it had become increasingly difficult to manage patients who were going through withdrawal,” said Dr. Douglas McDonald, Vice President of Medical Affairs for UH Elyria Medical Center. He continued, “We realized the time was right to implement a program that brought addiction specialists to our facility, for the safety and wellbeing of both our patients and our staff.”

GMA Consultants is a group of physicians and physician assistants who are trained in addiction medicine. As part of their agreement with UH Elyria Medical Center, they provide consult services when a patient requires detoxification from drugs and/or alcohol during the course of their hospitalization. “Often, patients who abuse drugs or alcohol will be admitted to a hospital for something other than addiction, and then start to experience withdrawal,” said Dr. Chris Adelman, a founding member of GMA Consultants who is board-certified in both Addiction Medicine and Emergency Medicine. “The withdrawal causes them to often become abusive, which is dangerous for them as well as their caregiver. We start them on medicine that helps control their withdrawal symptoms, and teach nurses how to evaluate those symptoms. Most of the time, the patient has been detoxed by the time they are discharged.” According to Dr. Adelman, it takes five days for a patient who has abused opiates, such as Heroin, to be detoxed and three days to detox an alcoholic.

Even though patients may leave the hospital with no drugs or alcohol in their systems, research shows that many will relapse. Part of the role that the physicians and physician assistants of GMA Consultants play at UH Elyria Medical Center is to provide information to patients upon discharge of the resources available to them to help manage their addiction. “There are more resources than ever before,” said Dr. Adelman, who has worked in the emergency departments of Elyria Medical Center for more than 15 years.

UH Elyria Medical Center is on the forefront of offering this type of service in Lorain County; currently no other program like this exists in the county.

The funding to bring this specialized treatment for drug and alcohol addiction to UH Elyria Medical Center was provided by the hospital’s Auxiliary. Through their many sales and events, they were able to provide the seed money to bring the program to fruition. A large portion of those funds were generated by the store located within the hospital. The “Gift Shoppe,” which is located just beyond the main lobby of UH Elyria Medical Center, offers a wide range of specialty gift items, such as handbags, scarves, home décor, jewelry, flowers and more.

The Auxiliary of UH Elyria Medical Center has provided tens of thousands of dollars in assistance over the years for other health programs such as medical equipment like the therapeutic hypothermia unit used for heart attack patients; a breast biopsy system; nursing scholarships for deserving students; and much more. Several fundraisers are planned in the near future:

  • “3 Pay Party” – Wednesday, May 21 from 5pm-10pm at The Gift Shoppe (Receive special discounts while enjoying light finger foods and entering to win prizes!)
  • Book & Gift Sale – Thursday/Friday, May 22 and 23 from 7am – 4pm in the Private Dining Room at UH Elyria Medical Center
  • $5 Jewelry Sale – Thursday, June 19 from 7am – 7pm and Friday, June 20 from 7am – 2pm in the Private Dining Room at UH Elyria Medical Center
  • Silver Sale (Fine Jewelry) – Wednesday/Thursday, July 9 and 10 from 7am – 4pm in the Private Dining Room at UH Elyria Medical Center

Come and support the Auxiliary of UH Elyria Medical Center in their efforts to raise funds for the health and wellness of our community.

About University Hospitals Elyria Medical Center

Founded in 1908, University Hospitals Elyria Medical Center is a 387-licensed bed hospital system with additional campuses in Amherst (University Hospitals Amherst Health Center), Avon (University Hospitals Avon Health Center) and Sheffield (University Hospitals Sheffield Health Center), along with medical offices in Grafton, North Ridgeville and Westlake. Part of the University Hospitals health system, UH Elyria Medical Center offers patients access to UH Case Medical Center, a nationally recognized academic medical center, as well as programs from internationally recognized centers of excellence such as UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital and UH Seidman Cancer Center. UH Elyria Medical Center is one of Healthgrades America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Coronary Intervention™ for 3 Years in a Row (2012-2014) and is ranked among the top 5% in the nation for Coronary Interventional Procedures for 2 Years in a Row (2013-2014). In addition, UH Elyria was named a 13-time “NorthCoast 99 Top Employer” by the Employers’ Resource Council. For more information, visit www.UHhospitals.org/Elyria.

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