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Prisoner HIV program leads to continuum of medical care after release
Date:5/7/2008

al workers meet with prospective clients within 90 days of their release date to formulate a discharge plan and provide the ex-offender with 18 months of intensive case management after prison release. In addition to encouraging the continuum of medical care, Project Bridge links participants with community resources that help them find housing, employment, transportation, and other social services.

This particular study focused on a total of 59 participants who were enrolled in Project Bridge during the reporting period, May 2003 to December 2005. At baseline:

  • 86 percent reported living in unstable housing (e.g. - on the streets, in shelters, in abandoned building)
  • 97 percent reported a history of substance abuse and/or binge drinking
  • 50 percent reported needing addiction treatment
  • 34 percent reported being on psychiatric medication

Researchers found that despite high levels of addiction and mental health disorders, 95 percent of the participants in the program were retained in medical care throughout the 18 months. Furthermore, 46 percents secured housing, 71 percent were linked to mental health care, and 51 percent were linked to addiction services.

Ninety-five percent adherence rate is excellent for any population, but considering the complex needs of HIV positive ex-offenders, this is quite remarkable, says Zaller.

Project Bridge began in 1996 when The Miriam Hospital applied for a Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS) grant, which is part of the Ryan White Care Act. In conjunction with the HIV specialty care within the prison that Miriam Hospital physicians were already providing, Holmes launched the program in 1997 with the primary goal of retaining HIV positive ex-offenders in medical care through social stabilization.

Holmes credits the use of professional social workers with making a difference when it comes to the programs effecti
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Contact: Jessica Collins Grimes
jgrimes2@lifespan.org
401-432-1328
Lifespan
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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