Drug Addiction In Health Care Professionals

The problem of abuse of controlled substances and addiction to prescription drugs is wide-spread in the United States. People who abuse and/or are addicted to prescription medications come from all walks of life. Health care professionals are in that group. These are people are entrusted with our well-being, yet health care professionals are as likely as any other person to become an addict.

Even though the vast majority of DEA registered practitioners follow all the rules and regulations regarding controlled substances, there are some drug-impaired health care professionals on the job right now. They have access to controlled substances and some will abuse these drugs for reasons such as relief from stress, self-medication, or to improve their alertness and their work performance.

If you are a health care professional and you suspect a colleague is abusing or diverting controlled drugs what are your responsibilities? Your main responsibility is to the public – the people who you are caring for. As a health care professional, it is your obligation to protect the society from drug abuse. Also, as a health care professional, you have a responsibility to prescribe medication appropriately.

How can you tell if a colleague is drug impaired? The signs of addiction are the same for any co-worker, but it is particularly important to watch for the signs in fellow health care professionals as they are responsible for caring for you. Things to watch for are:

  • An increase in absenteeism
  • The addicted individual may spend a lot of time near a drug supply
  • The person my be absent from work for long periods of time and come back with improbabl3 excuses
  • They may take frequent long trips to the bathroom or frequent to the stockroom where drugs are located
  • They may suddenly become unreliable in keeping appointments or meeting deadlines
  • Their work performance may fluctuate between periods of high productivity and low productivity
  • The person exhibits difficulty in completing simple tasks, may have difficulty in concentrating or recalling details and instructions
  • They may make bad decisions based on poor judgment
  • The person may insist on personal administration of drugs to a patient
  • They display deterioration in charting and in handwriting
  • They display deterioration in personal appearance
  • The person exhibits mood swings, depression, anxiety or lack of impulse control
  • Patients and staff complain about the person changing behavior or attitudes
  • The person is increasingly isolated both personally and professionally

Too often, health care professionals neglect dealing with addiction problems of their colleagues. They are reluctant to speak out for fear the person may become angered and seek retribution or there is a far the person may lose their professional practice. Many times, employers or co-workers end up being enablers of health care professionals who are impaired by substance abuse. The abuser is given a lighter work load, their excessive absences are overlooked and excuses are made for their poor performance.

Many well-educated highly trained and experience health care professionals lose their families, careers and futures to substance abuse. If you suspect a colleague is abusing drugs, then take action to help preserve their life and their lifestyle. There are many fine drug rehabilitation facilities in the county. The Williamsburg Place and the Farley Center can help if you suspect a colleague is abusing controlled substances. Give the folks at The Williamsburg Place and the Farley Center a call at (877) 389-4968 to learn how you can approach a colleague to get them the help they desperately need.

When To Contact A Home Health Care Professional

The cost of nursing home care has risen so dramatically that it is now out of reach for the average American family. (Up to $80,000 a year, according to most reports.) As a result, many adult children are now caring for their elderly parents at home — which may be manageable until they start struggling with everyday issues like dressing, bathing, and taking their medication. Is there an affordable alternative to nursing home care?

Thankfully, the answer is yes. Unfortunately, most people don’t know when it’s time to call in the pros. They often think they can handle everything on their own simply because they care, but they seldom have the experience to do the job. This goes double when memory loss and dementia issues make it even more difficult to take care of someone who needs looking after. With that in mind, here are the most common signs that it’s time to call a home health care professional.


It often starts with something simple like misplacing the car keys… But later becomes something potentially dangerous like leaving a pot boiling on the stove. The tragic thing about memory loss in seniors is that it almost never gets better. Children might hope their senior parents will somehow get back to their old selves, but that is seldom the case. Sometimes the only way to keep them comfortable and safe is to hire a reputable home health care professional.

Getting Lost

When an older person can no longer take a morning walk without a guide, it’s time to call in a personal-care assistant. This is true even when they rarely leave the house. Because memory loss causes confusion and affects judgment, a person with dementia might go out for a number of random reasons. Perhaps they saw a commercial on the television and want to pick the advertised item up at the store, or maybe they think they have to go to work that day, even though they’ve been retired for over a decade. Whatever the reason, the memory-impaired individual who leaves the house is putting themselves and others at risk, especially if they have access to an automobile.

Hygiene Issues

Like other daily routines, a person who suffers from dementia will let a lot of things slide. In most cases, they simply forget to brush their teeth, take a shower, or even change their clothes. It is also quite common for people with memory loss to avoid these daily chores because they find them uncomfortable. While it is certainly possible for adult children to help their parents dress themselves, brush their teeth, and comb their hair, other daily rituals are potentially dangerous for the untrained assistant. For example, trying to get an elderly individual who doesn’t want to take a bath or shower into the tub can easily result in a slip and fall for one or both parties.

When elderly parents struggle with any or all of the aforementioned issues, it’s best to call a home health care professional as soon as possible.

Promote Health With Promotional Products For Health Care Professionals

Promotional products do more than increase sales and bulk up your patient list. Well-chosen promotional products can help reinforce important health messages and drive home the importance of nearly any health care issue. Many health care professionals are most familiar with promotional products from the receiving end – the pharmaceutical and medical equipment industries are among the biggest consumers of promotional products – but there are many ways that you can use promotional products in your practice.

Promotional products make a wonderful addition to any public service campaign.

In many cases, raising awareness is the first step toward providing medical care or a cure. There’s a wide variety of different types and classes of promotional products to choose from. Some suggestions might include squeezable stress toys as part of an awareness campaign about the harmful effects of stress or t-shirts printed with a health awareness slogan. Your office might give printed pedometers as part of a fitness campaign, or hand out inexpensive promotional watches as part of a “Time to watch your health” campaign.

Promotional products can help build your practice.

Introduce your office to new residents in your area with a welcome in their post box, or partner with an estate agent to be part of a “Welcome to Your New Home” basket of goodies. Include a useful gift from your office, imprinted with your practice name and telephone number for emergencies. The type of gift you include should be specific to your practice area. A general practitioner could use a small first aid kit, for instance. A chiropractor might include a hand-held back massager imprinted with his name and number. A clever gift from a pediatrician’s office might be a bandage dispenser filled with colorful adhesive bandages for those little cuts and scrapes and a refrigerator magnet to keep your telephone number handy.

Support public service causes with appropriate promotional items.

Make yourself and your staff available for public health fairs and promotions. When you partner with public service agencies you increase both your visibility and your credibility. If your business is nutrition, set up a display to emphasize the importance of healthy eating and hand out travel mugs imprinted with a health conscious message. If your office specializes in sports medicine, you might choose stress toys shaped as different types of balls. Suit the promo products that you choose as takeaways to your practice specialty.

Paper promotional products are important informational tools.

Companies that specialize in promotional gifts for trade fairs and conferences often also handle the design and production of informational tools like brochures, leaflets and flyers about your practice and specialty. If you already have a relationship with a promotional product company, be sure to include them when you’re pricing the cost of creating promotional literature about your practice.

Say thank you and please come again to your patients and clients with promotional products.

Pediatricians have handed out stickers, lollipops and plastic rings to their patients for years as a “Job Well Done” reward. Why confine that to children? There’s a wide variety of little thank you gifts that you could offer your patients, from sticky notes with a reminder to “Eat Healthy” to stress toys to help them stay healthy.