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Summary of key learning from Week 2

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This week we covered a range of topics around family and addiction, and addressed some factors that can impact the needs of someone who uses substances: pregnancy, old age and blood borne viruses. We also learned how a trauma-informed approach, when applied systemically in treatment plans and in individual practice, can improve your practice with any of these cohorts of people who use substances.

We learned about family and addiction with particular emphasis on the risk and protective factors for a person from birth right through to adulthood. We learned about adverse childhood experiences (ACE’s), the health implications and the traumatising effects that growing up in a dysfunctional and violent household can have on a person through their life. A discussion on Patricia’s story provided the opportunity to identify the signs when an intervention may be necessary and appropriate. Her case also provides the backdrop for understanding the importance of providing a trauma-informed service for the people who use our services.

We then heard from experts on how to work with women who use substances during pregnancy from three differing perspectives. The data on ageing and substance use presented the evidence of early and late onset of substance use behaviour, while providing insights into how to address substance use with these older clients.

The final topic for the week discussed infectious diseases. We learned about testing for drug-related infectious diseases and the importance of early testing among (PWID) to provide early diagnosis and essential links to treatment and care.

Finally, we heard from an expert in the field of blood borne viruses such as Hepatitis C and HIV. These infections can have a lifelong impact particularly on people diagnosed with HIV who will need professional trauma-informed care and access to potentially lifesaving medication.

In conclusion, this week, we explored the interventions and treatment for different challenges from expectant mothers who use substances to children of parents who use drugs to possible medication misuse among older people and infectious diseases. This week, we looked at addiction treatment and recovery from various different perspectives, we moved from the individual in Week 1 to the family in Week 2. Week 3 will explore leadership in practice and the Healthy Addiction Treatment Model.

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Identifying and Responding to Drug and Alcohol Addiction in Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Healthcare Practice

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