Type of Practice


The Inpatient Addictions Medicine Unit (AMU) at Health Sciences North (HSN) was created as a care service, to provide support to those with active substance use and addictions diagnoses requiring acute care admission. The AMU works closely with the Addiction Medicine Consult Team as a fully integrated, cross-organization addiction medicine service which ensures addiction treatment and supports are available at all points of care. This specialized service involves a multidisciplinary team who provide supportive assessments and cohesive interventions that are harm reduction and/or abstinence focused, depending on clients’ individual medical, mental health, and addictions needs. Needs are addressed across the continuum of care including treatment and monitoring, discharge planning, follow up care and outpatient referrals.

This service was created to meet the specific needs of every individual dealing with substance use and/or addictions, wherever they are on the continuum of use and recovery. This includes supporting transfer of patients from the emergency department or other in-patient units in order to provide comprehensive and concurrent medical and addictions support. AMU provides medical monitoring in order to implement more timely treatment; referrals to community supports; and applications for various housing options and treatment programs.

This leading practice would be applicable to other acute care centers interested in creating a specialized alternate pathway to hospitalization for individuals who use substances and/or have addictions and require ongoing medical care, as well as providing specialized discharge planning that closes the gaps between acute care and community supports.

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