LEARNING OBJECTIVESAfter reading this chapter you will understand:
1 Why home detoxification has advantages because of treating patients in their own environment.
2 Why comprehensive assessment is vital before embarking on a home detoxification regime (this includes a risk assessment).
3 That home detoxification has the same safety and efficacy as inpatient detoxification and can be more cost effective.
4 That it is important to tailor the detoxification environment to the needs of the patient.
Before considering the topic in detail, we need to clarify what we mean by the term 'home detoxification'. Detoxification is the gradual or controlled withdrawal of a substance of dependence. The treatment process aims to alleviate subjective discomfort, minimise objective withdrawal signs and prevent the morbidity and mortality which may follow sudden cessation of use of the substance. The criteria used for assessing effectiveness are the severity of withdrawal symptoms and the presence of medical complications. Traditionally, the treatment of patients