Introduction to Harm Reduction Video Series
Harm reduction is an evidenced-based, practical approach to reducing the negative personal and public health consequences of drug use. However, staff in healthcare settings often struggle to openly discuss drug use with patients. The Introduction to Harm Reduction in Healthcare Video Series demonstrates practical strategies to support the health of people who use drugs. Grounded in the belief that healthcare is a human right, this series supports our vision of a healthcare system that works for everyone! These videos were created by Jefferson Health in collaboration with patients and providers from Project HOME and Pathways to Housing PA and made possible through grant funding from the Foundation for Opioid Response Efforts (FORE).
Please fill out our survey so we can gather more information about who is watching our videos, how you found them, and how we might be able to improve on them in the future. We greatly appreciate your time
Recognizing Withdrawal in the Waiting Room
- Prepare your staff to recognize the basic signs of withdrawal and provide them with basic techniques to support patients
- Remember that while a patient is actively experiencing opioid withdrawal symptoms they have limited ability to concentrate, follow directions, or modulate emotional reactions
- A successful interaction with the patient means attending to basic physical and relational needs such as offering a glass of water, and acknowledging that the person looks uncomfortable
Approaching Phlebotomy with People who have a History of Injection Drug Use
- Recognize that using needles may not be a neutral experience for patients at any point during their recovery; it could trigger a negative emotional response or remind them of their use
- There are many ways for an encounter to go wrong but many are salvageable through collaborative trouble-shooting
- Approach all encounters with empathy and sensitivity; these techniques can be used with all patients
Discussing Urine Drug Screen Results for Clinicians
- Avoid the impulse to characterize the patient’s narratives or explanations as true or false; address all concerns with data and empathy
- Use all available resources to stay up-to-date on the state of the drug supply and emerging risks (e.g. public health websites, conversations with patients, community-based partners)
- Provide patients with options for staying safer while using drugs (e.g. consider doing a test dose-“start low, go slow”, fentanyl test strips)
Discussing Safer Injection
- Recognize that your patients’ substance use might be ongoing
- Share your knowledge on cleaner injection techniques to prevent the transmission of blood borne diseases
- Utilize your expertise, the expertise of colleagues, and that of harm reduction organizations (e.g. certified peer specialists, Harm Reduction Coalition) to identify effective harm reduction strategies and stay up to date on drug trends
- Avoid unintentional shaming or paternalism; these conversations will be easier once you have built rapport with patients
Thank you for watching the Introduction to Harm Reduction in Healthcare video series!
Please fill out our survey so we can gather more information about who is watching our videos, how you found them, and how we might be able to improve on them in the future. We greatly appreciate your time!