March 10, 2016 – It’s no secret that people fighting addiction tend to neglect their own personal health. Many have not been to the doctor or dentist in years or lack a healthy diet with regular exercise. Others come from a life of physical or mental abuse or take a host of prescription drugs which adds to the complexity of his or her health profile. The strong focus on the drug or alcohol leaves many addicts with a body that is broken beyond the addiction.
The first stop for a new client at IBH is Health Services. The State of Ohio requires that each client be assessed for health risks and medication intake, and undergo a physical by a licensed physician. However, the first visit is more than a requirement for the nurses at IBH. It’s an experience that the nurses take personally.
“We are the first impression of IBH,” says Alliree Zushin, BSN. “We want the client experience to be warm, welcoming, and trusting. They need to start to build trust so they can begin to focus on their health and the recovery process.” Becky Waltz, RN describes the first day for many clients as chaotic. The client is typically overwhelmed, nervous, and does not feel well. Many come directly from detox, and others come from prison. “We like to welcome them and help them feel safe and comfortable,” explains Waltz. “We want them to feel respected so we can understand how to help them.”
Each client is assigned a nurse from IBH to conduct an intake interview, and now thanks to a much needed renovation, each nurse has a private office. “We are thrilled with our new space,” explains Waltz. “Before this renovation, we had a small, shared area and were desperate for privacy and quiet for the client. This new space gives them the dignity that they deserve.”
The renovated space boasts four private offices with fresh paint, new flooring, enhanced lighting and refinished furniture. There is a centralized work area and med cart that has created a greater method of organization and communication with outside physicians and departments within IBH. Each office has a window and decorations to enhance the peaceful environment, and the central bathroom has been updated.
“We pride ourselves on taking an important role of a client’s journey from addiction to wellness,” states Nancy Winker, RN, Director of Health Services at IBH. “We provide on-site health care, but also educate our clients about general health, mental health, coping skills, fitness, diet and nutrition. The renovations give our department the structure and organization that is needed to provide professional service to our clients.”
The Health Services Staff is highly qualified in the field of addiction services with 50+ combined years at IBH. Three registered nurses, one BSN, and one LPN are responsible for the total census at IBH which averages close to 60 clients daily. Dr. Nicole Labor, associate director of addiction medicine at Summa Health System and medical director at IBH, visits with new clients on Thursdays. Dr. Gina Glenn Hutton, Psychiatrist, also meets with select clients on a weekly basis.
IBH Foundation funded the $4,000 project and the maintenance staff of Dave Dowling, John Meyers, and Jerry Massie provided all of the labor.