Insight into Detox (a New Video)

At Castle Craig the nursing team work closely with the doctors and therapists in providing patients in the intensive care unit with 24 hour medical cover – that is a lot of work in practise.

This new video is part of a mini-series we will be releasing which describes the important work carried out by the nursing staff at Castle Craig

Detox at a residential rehab clinic

In this short video Jane Spurgeon, the Senior Staff Nurse at Castle Craig Hospital, describes the process of detoxification, which is the first step of residential addiction treatment.

“Every patient who comes into Castle Craig is different” says Jane, who explains the importance of understanding what drugs the patients have in their bodies, and what is the appropriate dose of of substitute drugs that are given to them for their first few days.

Establishing the alcohol and drug-taking history

“When we look at their detox we have to very carefully establish their chemical use history” she explains, “sometimes people minimise what they have been taking and sometimes they exaggerate a bit… They are nervous of coming off that substance.”

They back up the interview-phase by testing the patients’ blood and this, says Jane, “gives us a very clear picture. Sometimes we come across substances that haven’t been mentioned, for example somebody has come in primarily for a problem with alcohol but has also been taking Benzodiazepines – and that’s a bit of a dangerous mixture… So we have to treat both of these substances as part of their detox.”

Monitoring throughout detox

Another important part of detox is 24 hour monitoring. The nursing team make sure that each patient is checked every four hours (during the day the patients spend time with the therapists and the other patients, and during the night the nurses check patients for “vital signs”.) 

“We watch the patients very very closely,” says Jane, “and this is an important part of the nursing role.” By closely observing them the nursing team can make sure they get the dosage of detox drugs just right.

The aim of the detox phase of treatment is to get the patient feeling comfortable and stable.  Within a week or so “we cut the dose down and down and down”.

Clean and sober

“We usually have a sort of celebration,” says Jane, “when we say ‘this is your last day on detox…tomorrow you will be clean or sober’. That’s a big deal for people. Maybe it’s the first time in years that they have been that way, so it is something worth celebrating.”