Jan. 7, 2014 10:02 PM

Less than a month after announcing the return of outpatient pediatric services, University Hospital & Clinics has reopened its Medical Detoxification Program.

Less than a after announcing the return of outpatient pediatric services, University Hospital & Clinics has reopened its Medical Detoxification Program. Both services were shuttered in 2012 by state budget cuts. The re-established Medical Detoxification Program, which previously operated under the name First Step, is already seeing patients. It's been closed since February 2012.

Hospital officials said this makes UHC Lafayette's only hospital-run inpatient medical detox facility.

The voluntary inpatient program fulfills a major need in the community by providing 24-hour medically supervised evaluation and treatment to eligible patients 18 years or older. The mission of the program is to provide the "first step" in a patient's rehabilitation process by offering a safe, therapeutic detoxification experience, while minimizing the painful effects of withdrawal. This will allow patients to complete the remaining steps of their recovery and rehabilitation in a more comprehensive program at another facility.

"This is yet another former closure that we have brought back to our community," UHC President/CEO Jared Stark said in announcing the reopening. "Our goal is to keep this momentum going."

Compass Health manages the 12-bed medical detox program for UHC by providing trained detox nursing and counseling staff members and supervisors. UHC, in cooperation with LSU Health System, provides physician services. The hospital provides the support of a pharmacy, diagnostic and testing services, and dietary and environmental services.

Officials said Lafayette General Health now has the ability to transfer patients willing to receive needed medical detox services from any of its affiliated emergency departments to the inpatient program at UHC.

In order to be admitted into the program, a patient must meet certain criteria, the most important of which is a primary diagnosis of substance dependence and/or substance withdrawal. They must also voluntarily agree to participate in the treatment program.

It is expected that most patients will be admitted for detoxification from alcohol, benzodiazepines and/or opioids. A detox protocol will be initiated upon admission to the program. The detox protocols generally have a duration of five to seven days, depending upon the patient's condition. All medications prescribed are at the lowest effective dosages that are medically feasible for control of the patient's withdrawal symptoms and condition. Upon discharge, staff will assist patients in transitioning elsewhere to a more comprehensive program for their addictions.

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