What is a home-based withdrawal service?

Withdrawal, also known as detoxification, is an approach used to help people who have developed a physical or psychological dependence on drugs or alcohol achieve a substance free state.

Home-based withdrawal is when a person cuts out or cuts back on using alcohol and other drugs while living in their own home or another safe place as opposed to going to a drug and alcohol treatment service or withdrawal facility.

The Drug and Alcohol Withdrawal Network (DAWN), based in metropolitan Perth, provides a free and confidential withdrawal service. Run by clinical nurse specialists, who visit and support clients at home in shared care with a general practitioner (GP), the service supports people of all ages with home-based withdrawal.

DAWN also provides education, support and consultation to family and friends, support people, health professionals and agencies, and the broader community.

DAWN Clinical Nurse Specialist, Simon Hulatt, said home-based withdrawal can provide an alternative option to that of an inpatient withdrawal admission.

“It’s possible to withdraw at home when the withdrawal symptoms are predicted to be mild to moderate in severity and support is available from a family member or friend,” Simon said.

“Home-based withdrawal offers a safe option for people to detox from substances at home with the right support and monitoring.”

According to Simon, clients undertaking home-based withdrawal can continue to benefit from their social support systems, with the exception of those that have adverse family situations.

“Home-based withdrawal allows people to retain greater freedom and engage in regular day to day activities with fewer disruptions,” he said.

“Our nurses work with people in their own home and social environment to identify the people, places and psychological-emotional ‘triggers’ that perpetuate their drinking or drug use and develop appropriate recovery plans.”

DAWN nurses actively work with clients to organise appropriate referrals for after their withdrawal, to get psychotherapeutic support and assist with the underlying issues as to why they were using drugs or drinking and to get their life back on track. This plays an integral part in relapse prevention and their ongoing recovery.

For more information, visit DAWN. Tel: (08) 9388 5000.