A new program at Boston’s General Hospital will screen all patients for the disease of addiction. Each patient will be posed with a few pertinent questions that will help identify their substance use.
Questions such as: Have you used an illegal drug in the last year or how often have you had six or more drinks in one occasion, will help caregivers identify those individuals who might need help. If the battery of four questions reveals a possible addiction, doctors can summon a special team to conduct a “bedside intervention” and, if needed, arrange treatment.
Dr. Sarah Wakeman, medical director for substance use disorders at Mass. General’s Center for Community Health Improvement, called being in the hospital “a reachable moment,’’ when social workers and psychiatrists can bring initial treatment right to a patient’s bedside.
“We make it incredibly hard for people to access care for addiction,’’ she said. “Part of our goal is shifting the culture.’’
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