A South Side hospital has helped itself save more lives of community residents.
South Shore Hospital, located at 8012 S. Crandon Ave., recently held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the reopening and expansion of its Chemical Dependency Unit from 14 beds to 22. South Shore Hospital president/CEO Timothy Caveney said the project had been in development for a year. The wing was formerly a Medical Surgical Unit; however, Caveney said a decline in that area along with the findings of a community needs assessment, which is conducted every three years, prompted the switch in focus.
“This is really something that our community needs so it’s a good fit for our hospital,” said Caveney. “We thought this would be a better thing for us to serve the needs of our community.”
Caveney said the additional beds will help meet the needs of the hospital because prior to the expansion, available beds were always in short supply. He estimated 15 employees including counselors, therapists, and nurses will be dedicated to the CDU, which will be open day and night.
Alfred Bolden, Jr., Chief Nurse Executive at South Shore Hospital, who has been at the hospital for four years, said South Shore has a high incidence of drug abuse. He said now with the additional beds, patients can be seen quicker.
“We’ve heard all about the opioid epidemic in America, our community is no different, we needed to expand to accommodate the needs of our patient population,” said Bolden. “I don’t think the problem is any worse than it has been, it just has not been addressed and that’s our focus here. It’s a great ability to serve this community, I live in this community, I feel great about serving the community.”
The South Shore Hospital offered this informational about the features of the Chemical Dependency Program:
- A pick-up service for clients in need of transportation assistance
- Clients do not require a positive drug or alcohol screening to enter the program
- Detoxification from all substances including suboxone maintenance (60 mg)
- Medicare part A & B and Private insurance is accepted ONLY (no HMO)
- A level IV program, meaning it is medically monitored and provides therapeutic and rehabilitative services.
- The program is not a 12-step program however it is structured around the same principles such as spiritual awareness and accountability
- This is a voluntary program in which patients have the option of leaving at any time.
- All counselors are highly skilled and trained to meet the needs of clients
- Group therapy is a requirement for all participants of the program. Individual counseling sessions are also available.
- Each group focuses on a range of topics designed to promote rehabilitation such as cognitive behavior, psycho education, and skilled development/support.
- Group therapy is offered 7-days a week from 9:30 am until 8:30 pm.
- Recreational periods are provided and encouraged.
- Outdoor passes are provided in emergency situations for up to six hours and are only authorized by a physician’s order. Drug screenings are performed upon readmission.
- Prior to the completion of the program, each patient will receive aftercare options such as housing, long-term care, and referrals for additional support programs.
Ald. Michelle Harris (8th Ward), who helped cut the ceremonial ribbon to the CDU, said the expansion is “much needed.”
“I’m glad the hospital is figuring out how to reinvent themselves in this time of economic trouble for a smaller hospital,” said Harris. “In this community…we do have a lot of issues with substance abuse.”
Harris explained the impact of a neighborhood hospital like South Shore Hospital goes well beyond healing the sick.
“What we want to do is grow our smaller hospitals to be economic booms and engines for our communities,” she said. “I don’t know what the community would be like without the hospital being an anchor here, and so we have figure out how to tell the story about our community because they employ people. A lot of the folks who work here live here, too. It’s important to get all of those pieces and keep it whole.”
Ald. Greg Mitchell (7th Ward), who was also a participant in the ribbon cutting, called having the new wing in the hospital “progress.” He said he believes the next step is increasing drug awareness among youth.
“When I was in grammar school and high school, they talked about how drugs and how you can become addicted,” said Mitchell. “I would like to see the hospital bring this into our schools and talk to our children about that so they’ll think twice about starting the use of a drug.”
To learn more about South Shore Hospital, visit http://www.southshorehospital.com/.