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St. Elizabeth's program helps people with addictions in the ER

Posted at 4:30 AM, Mar 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-23 07:06:00-04

EDGEWOOD, Ky. -- There's something new in the emergency room at St Elizabeth Edgewood: staff social workers specializing in helping those with addiction. 

It's called the "bridge" program. Ashel Kruetzkamp, the ER nurse manager, said they're bridging substance use disorder patients "to the next level of care."

Before, it was frustrating for ER staff trying to help people with addictions find treatment options and not having enough information, according to Kruetzkamp. 

"It still makes a difference when you have somebody specialized, knows the resources, knows what's out there and can get them the best options for that individuals," Kruetzkamp said. 

St. Elizabeth's got a $500,000 state grant for the program. The hospital will send demographics about patients to the federal government to assist with future funding and programs. 

The program tries to capture patients at a point where help is crucial. Many times, they say it is. 

"A lot of them are coming in depressed, suicidal, wanting help with their addiction withdrawal," Kruetzkamp said. 

The idea is to get patients help within 24-48 hours. And there's additional follow-up after a week, after 30 days and after six months. 

"Treatment is an option and recovery does work," Kruetzkamp said. "We just got to get them there."