As society aims to reduce the personal and economic impact of substance use disorders (SUDs), Partners HealthCare is building resources to provide the continuity of care that is so critical to the recovery process.
Massachusetts General Hospital’s (MGH) newly launched HOPE (Harnessing Support for Opioid and Substance Use Disorder in Pregnancy and Early Childhood) Clinic provides targeted care for expectant mothers recovering from SUDs. A partner to MGH’s Bridge Clinic, the HOPE Clinic delivers integrated care for women, their partners, and their children from pregnancy through the baby’s second birthday, with treatment options ranging from recovery coaches and addiction treatment to support for optimal prenatal and neonatal outcomes.
“Pregnancy provides a unique opportunity for women who are struggling with substance use disorders to engage in treatment,” says pediatrician Davida Schiff, MD, Medical Director, MGH HOPE Clinic. “Supporting women during pregnancy and sustaining that support following delivery is critical to help women and young families succeed.” A similar Cooley Dickinson Health Care program, New Beginnings, also provides supportive services for pregnant and postpartum women in recovery from SUDs.
Taken together, these initiatives acknowledge the complexities inherent in treating patients with substance use disorders.
Other Partners initiatives are connecting patients with the resources they need. The Brigham Health Bridge to Recovery – a new bridge clinic at Brigham and Women’s Hospital – offers a stepping stone for patients discharged from the Emergency Department or inpatient units who need continued treatment. Through the clinic, patients with SUDs receive individualized care including pharmacotherapy, individual and group counseling, case management, and peer support. This coordinated point of care is a vital safety net for patients who previously would have waited several weeks for an outpatient clinic appointment at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital due to high demand driven by the opioid epidemic.
“Our goal is to get high-risk patients started with medication and services they need immediately, then help them find the right program to support their recovery,” says Kate Takayoshi, NP-C, a Brigham Nurse Practitioner who sees a steadily increasing number of patients in the clinic alongside a team of multidisciplinary staff.
Taken together, these initiatives acknowledge the complexities inherent in treating patients with SUDs. “The opioid crisis is a systemic problem, so all components of the system must play their part in addressing it,” adds Joji Suzuki, MD, Director of the Division of Addiction Psychiatry at the Brigham. “It’s like diabetes or obesity; it requires a comprehensive treatment plan and ongoing provider support over a long period of time.”