Physicians Collaborate on Addictions Medicine and Palliative Care

Patients diagnosed with serious illness, who also have substance use issues, are a very complex patient population to care for adequately – for the patient and practitioner alike. Patients experiencing substance use challenges, mental health issues, and a high burden of chronic and terminal disease often attempt to access acute care through the emergency room. In hospital, while they may encounter palliative care physicians, addictions medicine specialists and others, these specialists may not have had an opportunity to truly collaborate and coordinate their care holistically.

In the past, these patients have sometimes been discharged from hospital without means for further follow up. Dr. Ashley Heaslip, who works with the Portland Hotel Society (PHS), and Dr. Jody Anderson from palliative care recognized the value of an ongoing multidisciplinary coordinated care plan. Over the course of three different phases of grants from the South Island Medical Staff Association’s Facility Engagement funding, they gathered a group of palliative care, addictions medicine and community physicians working with CoolAid Clinic and PHS Clinic, as well as allied health care and support workers. This dedicated team came together to devise some strategies and tools to better serve this patient group.

To read the full story, please visit the South Island Medical Staff Association website.