Aspirus Wausau Hospital, Wausau, 2020 Community Benefit

Connecting Patients to Recovery Services

Three Bridges Recovery (TBR) and Aspirus recently launched a partnership to provide recovery services to the Aspirus system which includes Wood, Portage, Marathon, Langlade, and Taylor counties. TBR aids patients who enter the Aspirus emergency departments because they are experiencing a substance overdose or substance withdrawal. The intent is to accept the patient where they are, or are not, in their recovery process. The goal is to advocate for each patient and his/her specific needs. What makes TBR unique is their ability to provide peer-based services. Each coach and peer support specialist have suffered through addiction and recovery, so he/she is able to relate to the patient on a different level than someone who hasn’t wrestled with addiction.  
In the last six weeks, TBR has responded to the Aspirus Wausau Hospital emergency department and has successfully been able to get six people into detox treatment. Due to the economic and emotional toll of COVID-19, substance use relapses have increased nearly 120%. This speaks to the emergent need that exists and the necessity to react and respond immediately to help those who are suffering from a substance use disorder. From the moment the TBR coach connects with the patient in emergency department, the coaching relationship begins and continues throughout the patient’s journey to recovery. The TBR coach helps the person with goal planning, establishing primary care, getting a job, connecting them to resources and modeling healthy lifestyles to encourage them to be the best version of themselves and achieve their concept of success.
Over a year ago a TBR coach met with a patient in the Aspirus Wausau Hospital emergency department. The man had overdosed three times in one day. The first two times he would not agree to medical transport to the emergency department. The third time a TBR coach was able meet with him. The man said, “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.” This statement resonated with the coach because the coach had similar feelings when he was a substance user. The man had two small children and a wife. Upon meeting with the peer, he was connected to detox services. From detox he was able to go to a treatment center and upon leaving the treatment center, TBR had an aftercare plan in place. He soon gained employment, got a reliable vehicle and was the father he had dreamed he should be. Still to this day he is clean and sober and doing well. 
TBR appreciates the support they receive from Aspirus. This has been a successful partnership that is addressing a significant issue in the Aspirus communities.