LHIN funds new managed alcohol program in Kenora,Ontario

The North West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) has partnered with Lake of the Woods Hospital to provide a managed alcohol program in Kenora, Ontario.

Program will provide support to individuals with chronic alcohol addiction

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The North West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) has partnered with Lake of the Woods Hospital to provide a managed alcohol program in Kenora, Ontario..

The program will provide a living space for individuals with chronic alcohol addictions, helping them to relearn basic skills and reconnect with the community while treating their addiction issues.

The program will operate out of the Morningstar Centre at the Lake of the Woods Hospital in Kenora.

The managed alcohol program will provide participants with moderate amounts of alcohol, as a way to help them address their addictions, said Bruce Siciliano, the hospital's vice-president of mental health and addiction programs.

However, he said, the program includes many other steps to help participants.

"It's mental health and addictions counselling," said Siciliano. "It's actually having specialized attendants that are looking at making sure that folks get things like their social assistance, their health cards, that we start hooking people up to meaningful activities and opportunities in the community."

Other aspects include nutritional support from a dietitian, skills training, and on-site physician care.

The funding came after a proposal from Kenora's Managed Alcohol Program Advisory Committee, said Brian Ktytor, acting chief operating officer of the North West LHIN.

"The main objective is to improve the health outcomes that matter to the participants in the program, and to improve their quality of life and their overall health," he said. "But there are significant improvements ... to the system overall."

Ktytor said successful managed alcohol programs can also reduce emergency room visits.

Permanent program

The plan is for the Kenora program to be ongoing.

"It will be evaluated for the value it's creating on a regular basis," Ktytor said. "If adjustments are needed, they'll be made."

"But right now, the intention is this become a permanent program."

The managed alcohol program in Kenora is the first to be funded by the North West LHIN, Ktytor said; there are other, similar programs in the region, but the North West LHIN isn't involved.

However, he said, the LHIN is currently examining the need for more such programs in the region.

The Kenora managed alcohol program is expected to be up and running by the end of the year.