Theme 4. Strengthening partnerships
Responding to the MOHLTC vision for an integrated, primary health care system for Ontario, through the Price/Baker Report (May, 2015), which provides opportunities for innovative care delivery, increased integration with other primary health care providers and the broader system to collectively promote the health of community populations, there was a recognized need to better support people in Huron-Perth county experiencing an opioid dependency. To address this concern, the STAR FHT pharmacist providing his expertise as well as his pharmacy space, in collaboration with a family physician specializing in Methadone/Suboxone substitution therapies, a Nurse Practitioner from a local hospital providing primary care for unattached patients, and a community Addictions Counselling Center have teamed up to provide an Opioid Use Disorder Clinic. The motivation behind the development of this clinic reflects on some interesting statistics. Although Perth and Huron Counties ranks on a provincial level as having some of the lowest rates of opioid users (n=3,453 Perth), (n=3,363 Huron) only 2% (Perth), and 2.5% (Huron) respectively, of this population receives opioid maintenance therapy, which underscores the concerns about possible opioid dependency in this population and therefore the need for the provision of an available comprehensive addiction support clinic. The clinic is structured where STAR FHT patients as well as individuals from the community, who are experiencing an opioid addiction, and wish to seek treatment, have an opportunity to receive a comprehensive approach to help manage their drug dependency. The clinic involves the collaboration of a family physician skilled in providing a Medication-Assisted Treatment Program for Substance Dependence, STAR FHT Pharmacist who offers his expertise in area of dosing, titration, interaction, prevention of adverse events etc., as well as providing the pharmacy space two afternoons a week for the clinic, a hospital Nurse Practitioner for the provision of primary healthcare services for people who come to the clinic and are not attached to a family physician, and an available drug counselor from Choices for Change, who can provide support through education, counseling, service referral, relapse prevention strategies, harm reduction etc. This comprehensive collaborative approach to care of individuals experiencing an opioid addiction supports an environment that is non-judgmental, emphasizing a holistic approach to each person in all the services they offer. The following is a list of services available at the clinic:
This comprehensive model of care, although in its early stages, of less than a year, presents as a sustainable approach to supporting and treating individuals in the community who have an opioid dependency. It provides as a viable option for patients of family health teams who are experiencing drug addiction to seek anonymous treatment, education, counseling, and referral to services to support their journey to remain addiction free.
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