Twenty people will have a chance to go through free in-home alcohol detox as part of a new pilot program.
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The in-home detox model by Clean Slate Clinic is a general practitioner-designed and evidence-based program costing $3,000 per person. The Western NSW Primary Health Network (WNSW PHN) is now paying for 20 placements in Western NSW, and encourages those who need it to get in touch immediately.
The WNSW PHN's pilot program is open to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people only, but can be accessed privately by non-Indigenous people through their GP.
Clean Slate Clinic co-founder and director Chris Raine believed regional and remote areas were disproportionately affected by the harms of alcohol, and that even accessing help to overcome the problem is met by a lack of services.
Mr Raine told Daily Liberal the model was trialled on 50 patients over 12 months and had shown promising relapse rates like 15 per cent at three months. He said the in-home detox model would allow people to stay home and reduce the stigma of having to go to a centre.
While the model does not replace in-person rehabilitation services, it does allow patients access to leading drug and alcohol nurses, specialists and GPs in the country through telehealth, during their detox journey.
"I think a massive problem in regional and remote Australia is getting really good health practitioners out in these areas, and to stay in these areas. And whilst it's not as good as having someone face to face, through our program we have leading [healthcare professionals] in your home, on a screen," Mr Raine said.
"What they have to say and how they can support you is the best in the country, it's hard to access that kind of care.
"Our model is so much more affordable and less disruptive."
"It's hard to change that part of [the patient's] life so we just make sure we're there for them as they're going through this period and that change as much as they need."
Clean Slate Clinic will determine if the in-home detox model is appropriate for a patient, followed by a two week prep period focusing on reflection and yarns with health professionals.
Patients who experience adverse effects like seizures when they stop consuming alcohol may not be suited for in-home detox.
The clinic also sends patients a breathalyser, vitamins and conducts blood pressure tests while also liaising with their GP, and their pharmacy if medication is needed during detox.
The program is a 12-month process with different degrees of intensity for different patients.
Mr Raine struggled with alcohol dependence himself when he was 22-years-old, and said he was lucky to get treatment and medication.
"I'm very passionate about dependence and addictions, it's my purpose in life," Mr Raine said.
"I think the help that I got should be accessed by all people to have a meaningful life, that's why I do this work."
WNSW PHN and Clean Slate Clinic's pilot program in regional and remote areas will be evaluated and adapted to better support the people living in those areas.
"Individuals living with alcohol dependence is not unique to Western NSW or Australia, but this new pilot program will allow us to effectively gauge how effective at-home detox support can be for people in our region," chief executive of WNSW PHN, Andrew Coe said.
"Due to the vastness of our region, delivery of healthcare services always presents unique challenges, especially when dealing with delicate issues like addiction, so this program presents not only a perfect opportunity to harness the flexibility of telehealth but the data it provides will be crucial."
To access the Clean Slate Clinic, or more information regarding the 20 detox at-home positions available in the WNSW PHN region, patients and GPs can email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.cleanslateclinic.com/contact
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