Is Detox the Same as Skilled Therapy?
The hospital I work at is in urban Milwaukee. It is located a little south-west of actual downtown Milwaukee, but it is by no means a "suburban"-type establishment. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published an article in today's paper citing Milwaukee as the 11th
poorest city in the nation. (Poston, B. City is 11th
Poorest in Nation. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 28 Sept 2009.) Needless to say, we see it all.
On my schedule today I had three patients admitted for alcohol withdrawal, one of which was accompanied by a police escort for his hospitalization. It is obvious these patients are not safe with mobility. Withdrawal tremors, unsteadiness, and significant balance deficits make these patients fall risks. I have no problem with treating these patients, even considering they will likely be readmitted in the near future with a similar diagnosis.
However, with the temperatures dropping and warnings for frost on the weather, we are seeing more and more of these patients. Many are homeless, and many realize that being admitted to the hospital means a warm place to stay and food to eat.
What's the right way to help these patients? How can you participate in discharge planning for a patient with no home? With such limited resources, it's hard not to feel helpless.