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Substance Dependency and Abuse: Survey Results


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In 2002 an estimated 22 million Americans suffered from substance dependence or abuse due to drugs, alcohol, or both, according to the newest results of the Household Survey released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Illicit drugs were used by 19.5 million Americans (8.3% of the population age 12 or older); 54 million participated in binge drinking in the previous 30 days; 15.9 million were heavy drinkers.


The annual survey of approximately 70,000 people was released as part of the kick-off for the 14th annual National Drug and Alcohol Addiction Recovery Month (Recovery Month) observance. Source:http://www.samhsa.gov/news/newsreleases/030905nr_NSDUH.htm.


Five Steps to Safer Care

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in partnership with the American Hospital Association (AHA) and the American Medical Association (AMA), announced a campaign to help distribute valuable information about improving patient safety to healthcare providers and patients across the country.


Led by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), HHS is working with the AHA and the AMA to promote new posters and fact sheets called 5 Steps to Safer Health Care. The posters and fact sheets offer evidence-based, practical tips on the role that patients can play to help improve the safety of the care that they receive. Copies of 5 Steps to Safer Health Care are available at http://www.ahrq.gov/consumer/5steps.htm.


Kidney Care Alliance

Members of the kidney care community have announced the formation of an alliance to improve the quality of care for persons with irreversible kidney failure. Kidney Care Partners (KCP) is an organization comprised of patient advocates, dialysis professionals, providers, and suppliers that will collaborate to promote long overdue legislation to treat dialysis providers in the same manner as all other providers under the Medicare system.


Members of Kidney Care Partners, including the National Kidney Foundation and the American Nephrology Nurses' Association, have joined forces to ensure that patients with end-stage renal disease receive optimal care, have access to dialysis clinics and support development of enhanced therapeutics and innovative products. To learn more, visit http://www.kidneycarepartners.org.


Last Acts Report Recognizes the Value of Palliative Care Certification

Last Acts, a national coalition whose mission is to improve care near the end of life, has published the first comprehensive report on the current conditions of dying in America, Means to a Better End: A Report on Dying In America Today. The report rated each U.S. state with letter grades for each of eight benchmark measures.


One of the eight measures was to increase the number of palliative care-certified physicians and nurses. The report can be downloaded from http://www.lastacts.org.


Houston, We Have a Solution


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Faced with high vacancy rates and spending up to $1.5 million per month on outside nurses, Methodist Hospital in Houston, TX, sought to make nursing more appealing by emphasizing education and promotion opportunities, using fewer outside nurses, and giving nurses more authority.


Steps the hospital has taken to keep an adequate nursing staff include: making nurses and nursing supervisors a key part of the hospital's governance process; offering career progression incentives to reward nurses for remaining with the hospital; and creating a pool of staff nurses who can provide backup so that nurses are not forced to work frequent double shifts. Could home care have the same results? To read the complete article visit http://www.usnews.com/usnews/nycu/health/articles/030728/28nurses.htm and read Dr. Flynn's article in this issue.


Lisa Gorski Named CRNI of the Year


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Lisa Gorski, MS, RN, CS, Clinical Nurses Specialist at Covenant Home Health & Hospice in Milwaukee, WI, and a HHN editorial board member, was recently honored as the Infusion Nurses Society 2003 Certified Registered Nurse Infusion (CRNI) of the Year. Lisa received her award at the INCC/Gardner Foundation Reception held at the INS Annual Meeting in Nashville, TN.


Lisa's career goal to increase RNs' infusion knowledge is evidenced by her two books, countless articles and presentations at various national meetings, as well as the exemplary infusion education program she developed at her agency. Lisa is also President of the INS' Southern Wisconsin Chapter and serves on the INS national education committee. Lisa's promotion of the professional image of the infusion nurse is evidenced in her tireless dedication to advancing the practice of infusion nursing.