Person-Centred Strategy Drives Engagement in Unique AOD Program

Launch Housing Southbank is leading the way as the only crisis accommodation service in Victoria to offer an embedded on-site Alcohol and other Drugs (AOD) program exclusively for their clients who have alcohol and other drug issues.

The one-of-a-kind AOD program uses a person-centred approach to care. It is completely voluntary, and focuses on prevention and harm reduction. As one of the largest crisis accommodation sites in Melbourne, Launch Housing Southbank provides short stays for people experiencing homelessness.

The latest statistics from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare demonstrates the intersection of AOD issues and an experience of homelessness. Of the 288,800 clients presenting at Specialist Homelessness Service (SHS) 9% had AOD related issues.

As with many other social issues, there is no one definitive factor that leads to an experience of homelessness. The co-existence of many causes lead to complex challenges. In particular, research has shown an overlap between drug and alcohol issues and homelessness.

Without a home it is difficult for people to access health care, and this has serious implications on their health. As a result life expectancy decreases for people experiencing long-term homelessness. This complexity means a multi-pronged approach is necessary.

That’s why Launch Housing Southbank provides the AOD program alongside a successful Healthcare Response Program to meet the multiple health needs of our clients.

Southbank provides nursing consultations for people who require clinical care by community health nurses who work closely with Southbank AOD and case management teams.

Clients benefit from reduced wait times for appointments, early identification, treatments, support, and training. They can access services immediately, if needed.

Combined with the Healthcare Response Program and case management, the AOD service receives high levels of engagement from clients by providing timely and integrated care.

Southbank’s culture is enormously supportive, collegial and always striving for best practice and practice reflection. Staff are committed, and unified as they strive to bring about lasting change in people lives and build on each other’s strengths. Ultimately, we all want to see people move into a stable home. -Southbank Site Manager

Launch Housing Southbank’s approach demonstrates Launch Housing’s commitment to provide robust and effective strategies focused on harm reduction, prevention, clinical care and person-centred support for clients who have complex needs.

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) “Management of common health problems of drug users ” guidelines detail a number of key comprehensive harm reduction strategies, the majority of which are being implemented at Launch Housing Southbank.

Among a number of objectives mentioned in the guidelines of primary health care for AOD clients, Southbank achieves the following:

    • Promoting health among clients by providing a comprehensive harm-reduction package including: outreach; peer-led interventions; information, education and communication; condoms; sterile injection equipment; effective drug treatment such as opioid substitution therapy.
    • Reducing illness and mortality by early identification and treatment of infections and other drug use-related illnesses.
    • Providing HIV care, treatment and support for HIV-infected clients.
    • Families and communities are trained and involved in caring and supporting substance-using individuals.
    • Services are offered free of cost or at subsidized rates.
    • Clients are treated with respect, staff are culturally sensitive and provide effective care.

As part of Launch Housing’s continued commitment to improving services, and in response to changes within the sector, Launch Housing recently implemented a Naloxone procedure.*

All Launch Housing client services staff will be trained in the administration of Naloxone. Naloxone is a drug that blocks opioid drugs such a heroin and methadone from attaching to opioid receptors in the brain and is administered when someone is overdosing.

Launch Housing Southbank has supported and responded to the individual needs of people experiencing homelessness since the 1980s.

The site continues to support people in the community who are marginalised, and vulnerable with the aim to provide a sustainable pathway out of homelessness.

* The Naloxone procedure has been created to assist individuals that Launch Housing staff members come into contact with people who are overdosing. Launch Housing in no way tolerates the sale, trade or unauthorised supply of both licit and illicit substances.