MARTINSBURG, W.Va. – WVU Medicine Berkeley Medical Center has introduced a new behavioral health project geared towards expanding addiction services throughout the hospital and local community.
Project Engage launched at Berkeley Medical Center earlier this year with grant support from West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Behavioral Health (BBH). In addition to expanding addiction services, the project aims to increase peer recovery support services and access to harm reduction strategies like take-home naloxone and fentanyl test strips. It also aims to improve referrals to treatment centers.
Three full-time employees manage the program including a project coordinator, an inpatient peer recovery coach, and a linkage to care coordinator. According to Nycole Kothe, M.P.H., addictions program coordinator at Berkeley Medical Center, Project Engage staff has worked with the hospital one unit at a time to educate providers and nurses on a variety of addiction topics including treatment options, harm reduction strategies, stigma reduction, clinical opioid withdrawal scale (COWS) scoring, withdrawal management, and placing referrals to peer consult or treatment.
“When we first launched Project Engage, we implemented a hospital-wide survey to better understand staff attitudes and knowledge around treating patients with substance use disorders,” Kothe said. “Having all clinical staff trained on not only identifying signs of addiction, but knowing how and when to offer resources helps us better address gaps in care and ultimately reduce the stigma around addiction.”
“We applaud the proactive efforts in launching Project Engage, which exemplifies our shared commitment to expanding addiction services and enhancing community well-being,” said Cynthia Persily, Ph.D., incoming secretary for the West Virginia Department of Human Services. “Through collaboration and innovation, we strive to make a lasting impact on the lives of those affected by substance use disorders and foster a community that values recovery and support.”
Berkeley Medical Center offers comprehensive behavioral health services including addiction services, inpatient and outpatient mental health services, and a crisis stabilization center that provides short-term care for patients needing immediate care for a behavioral health crisis including substance use disorders and mental health illnesses.
For more information about Project Engage, call 304-264-1000 x 38081.