Specialised drug and alcohol unit to open at Nepean Hospital

Health Minister Ryan Park. Photo: Megan Dunn.
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People affected by drugs and alcohol will be diverted to a specialised unit at Nepean Hospital.

The State Government has confirmed Nepean is one of two hospitals that will house the new specialised units, aiming to take pressure off the Emergency Department.

Safe Assessment Units are designed to better support people presenting to emergency departments with behavioural disturbances associated with alcohol and drugs.

According to the State Government, people presenting with behavioural disturbances are often vulnerable and become overwhelmed by the environment in the Emergency Department.

These units will provide a safe, low stimulus environment in which patients can be admitted, assessed, and treated.

“We are acting to reduce pressure on our busy emergency departments by providing more appropriate care and treatment to drug and alcohol presentations,” said Health Minister Ryan Park.

“These units create a safe environment, not only for patients presenting with disturbances associated with alcohol and drugs, but also our frontline health workers and other patients presenting to our emergency departments.

“As Health Minister, I am embracing new and innovative initiatives to relieve pressure on our emergency departments by ensuring people receive the appropriate care when and where they need it.”

The units will allow patients to be treated by a multidisciplinary team of clinicans working across mental health, clinical pharmacology and alcohol and drug teams.

Similar models of care have resulted in improved patient outcomes, reduced need for sedation and restraint, as well as a reduction in the length of stay and time to be seen in Emergency Departments.

The specialised unit at Nepean, plus one at Prince of Wales Hospital, will be rolled out early next year.

To ensure patients receive ongoing support after discharge, care will be provided through collaboration with the community alcohol and other drug sector, the community mental health sector and other health and community services.

The units will be co-located within the Emergency Department.

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