South Florida Hospital News
Thursday August 13, 2020

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July 2018 - Volume 15 - Issue 1


Memorial Hospital Pembroke: Healing Starts Here

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there were 2,798 opioid-related deaths in the state of Florida as a result of an overdose in 2016. This was 46.3% higher than the previous year indicating that opioid dependency and overdoses are still growing.

To step up its efforts to fight the opioid abuse epidemic, Memorial Hospital Pembroke, in partnership with DetoxMD, offers patients a unique Medical Detoxification program along with cutting-edge treatment in a safe hospital setting.
The program, which began this spring, is one of the only hospital-based programs in South Florida that provides inpatient care for adults who are currently using or experiencing acute withdrawal symptoms from alcohol, prescription medications, opiates and other drugs. To date, nearly 100 patients have participated in the program.
“We have adopted an interdisciplinary team approach to optimize treatment,” says Sandeep Mendiratta M.D., a psychiatry specialist with Memorial and a Board Certified Diplomate with the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. “Various assessments are utilized including a thorough psychosocial and substance history screening, thorough physical exam, and a detailed laboratory workup.”
During a patient’s hospital stay, which usually lasts from 5 to 7 days, the goal of the program is to reduce acute withdrawal symptoms during detox while keeping the patient safe. The Medical Detoxification program includes:
• Stabilization of your medical condition and 24-hour monitoring
• Development of a personalized treatment plan
• Ongoing support from medical staff, who are trained and equipped to treat addiction and related mental and physical health conditions
• Access to the latest anti-addiction medications to minimize cravings
• One-on-one counseling to manage the psychological effects of withdrawal
• Private room with access to movies, the internet, books and more
One of the advantages of the program is that it is hospital-based which means that it can take care of more patients than freestanding facilities, notes Mark Doyle, Chief Executive Officer of Memorial Hospital Pembroke.
“Hospitals across Florida, and the nation, continue to see patients daily in the emergency department who have overdosed,” he says. “But most hospitals just treat them and release them back out onto the street. Our program will actually identify patients in the ER and we approach them about our program to help and treat them.”
“With Memorial’s involvement, you also have a trusted partner to help with this opioid crisis and patient care in a safe environment,” adds Lidice Morales, director of operations for DetoxMD at Memorial Hospital Pembroke. “Our program, which is voluntary, ensures that each patient receives optimal services and attention for their detoxification.”
Dr. Mendiratta says that the one thing the community could be doing to help hospitals such as Memorial Pembroke combat opioid abuse is to understand and remove the stigma of mental health and addiction in society.
“We must treat these issues as medical issues rather than character flaws such as weakness.,” he explains. “Moreover, we must realize that detoxification from most substances needs to be done in a medically supervised setting to prevent potentially life threatening complications such as seizures from alcohol and sedative withdrawals.”
According to Dr. Mendiratta, a major factor that has contributed to this epidemic—and that is still occurring—is the widespread prescribing of narcotic pain medications and subsequent physiological dependence that develops.
“Subsequently, users can start to use other illicit opioids like heroin to prevent dangerous withdrawals,” he says. “Many afflicted opioid dependent users are high functioning people. Contrary to popular belief, many opioid dependent users find opioids help them be more productive and alert while dealing with their life responsibilities.”
Studies have shown 90% of addiction issues start in the teens, so open dialogues with children is paramount along with being aware of symptoms of abuse such as pinpoint pupils, itching, and drowsiness.
“Studies have also shown that 75% of opioid misuse begins when young people get pills from friends or family members,” says Dr. Mendiratta. “Therefore, if prescribed these medications they should be safely stored away to prevent access from others.”
For those who do have family members or friends who are addicted to opioids, Doyle recommends not waiting and getting help immediately.
“If you know someone who has issues, there is always intervention,” he says. “But call us. We can help you navigate through what the next steps should be and how to get that person in for an assessment. There is help available. No one has to suffer alone.”
Morales agrees. “We’re passionate about our program and our main goal is the success of a patient. We want them to go back to their normal routine and learn how to cope with their addiction and other life stressors that might come along.”

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