Magazine article Behavioral Healthcare Executive

Gosnold on Cape Cod

Magazine article Behavioral Healthcare Executive

Gosnold on Cape Cod

Article excerpt

Gosnold on Cape Cod shares a campus with Falmouth General Hospital, a 90-bed medical/surgical facility that had been experiencing high rates of complications for patients with alcohol-related health problems.

A few years ago, Falmouth staff had several concerns they felt needed to be addressed--namely, ICU transfer rates at around 50% and average stays of 14 days for alcohol dependent patients admitted for unrelated medical conditions.

According to Raymond Tamasi, president and CEO of Gosnold, Falmouth patients were experiencing withdrawal symptoms that progressed to the point of requiring in tubation, in addition to frequent bouts of delirium tremens due to unidentified or under treated symptoms of with drawl.

In November 2010, Gosnold management was asked to help Falmouth solve the problem and help its staff members improve their understanding of addiction.

They started working with Falmouth to develop a consultation service aimed at revamping hospital protocols and screening tools, training nurses about addiction, creating work-based learning opportunities for hospital nurses, and delivering clinical services at the patient's bedside.

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"The core of this improvement project was to establish a consultation relationship with the hospital where our staff not only did training, but helped them to learn how to better manage withdrawal," explains Tamasi. "It was an opportunity to inject addiction treatment into primary care." Gosnold evaluated protocols for how nurses screened patients and treated withdrawal, and later provided instruction on how to improve withdrawal symptom scoring.

According to Tamasi, while the education helped, it was also essential to address negative stereotypes and attitudes about addiction. To that end, one-and two-day rotations were implemented to give the nursing staff an opportunity to work in Gosnold's acute care unit.

"We paid them a stipend so that they could attend all of the patient and group therapy sessions," explains Tamasi. "There was a significant transformation attitudinally. I'd say that was one of the most dramatic experiences in the whole project."

In their evaluations, nurses said the most significant part of their experience was sitting in a group therapy session, because they "saw a person who was struggling with an illness, not just someone who was making life miserable for all the people around them. …

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