As part of our ‘I am a…’ series two of the team from Brook Drive, the only third sector detox service in London, tell us about their careers – and the challenges past and present.
‘My past is my greatest asset’
At our 26-bed residential detox service we offer medically assisted detoxification from drugs and alcohol to clients nationwide. I’ve worked in the field of drug and alcohol treatment for the last 11 years, both nationally and internationally, and am very grateful for the opportunities that have come my way. Before this I worked for Ford building and supplying the world with diesel engines. Alongside, I was a part time criminal and full-time drug addict. Needless to say, neither of these other careers ended well and it took a near death experience to bring me back from the brink. I am humbled that my past has become my greatest asset in helping others to freedom.
As a result of the pandemic, we can only operate a maximum occupancy of 18 beds compliant with government guidelines. Residents are tested upon arrival and must self-isolate until the results are returned within 48 hours. Negative residents move to the upper floor and positive (none so far) residents would be required to self-isolate throughout their stay on the ground floor.
We provide 24-hour nursing care, overseen by our clinical lead and partner GP practice. Alongside our clinical team we have a psychosocial team of recovery workers and volunteers. Our administration team ensures precise bed management and communication with referring agencies to make sure admission dates are offered as soon as possible, while our housekeeping team keep Brook Drive clean and sanitised around the clock and our chef provides excellent healthy food options catering for individual needs and detox regimes.
Brook Drive has a wonderful family feel thanks to the very close working relationships of our multi-disciplinary team of professionals. They share the same vision: the best possible outcomes for each resident. We also try to involve families as part of treatments as we are aware that the residents’ recovery capital is healthier when the family is involved. We also facilitate online 12-step meetings and peer support.
Would I recommend a career in this field? Absolutely! But be warned, it can be very challenging, and sometimes tragic. On the flip side it can be incredibly rewarding, humorous and energetic. My old life was not all bad, even though it nearly killed me. But I would not change its best moments for the worst I have today.
My first job in substance misuse was back in 2005, when I was desperate to leave shift work and grabbed the first nine to five job I was offered. I intended to work there for six months but 15 years later I am still in this field.
Before Brook Drive, I worked in community services, prison and detox/rehab. As an independent nurse prescriber, I worked with clients who were desperate for inpatient detox, but many relapsed following discharge. Several told me that they left still having cravings or felt that the detox was rushed. I also managed successful home detoxes, and I yearned to work in a busy detox unit and implement what I learnt in the community. Working at Brook Drive has enabled me to do this.
The psychosocial and clinical teams work together ‘hand in glove’ to achieve the best outcomes, and our practices are underpinned by robust policies and comprehensive medical input. Staff training, both in-house and external, enables the service to deliver safe, effective care that is pivotal to its clients’ recovery.
Working here has been a steep learning curve. The teamwork has been of paramount importance and the psychosocial input is enhanced by clinical team input. The recovery team are part of the admissions process and are trained to carry out vital observations working closely with the clinical team. At Brook Drive there is no ‘them and us’, but ‘we’ – and we’ll continue working towards excellence.
Brook Drive is a CQC registered, residential community drug and alcohol detoxification unit in London, consisting of 26 bed spaces. The service is open 24 hours 365 days a year and provides medically supervised alcohol and drug detoxification programmes for people aged 18 and above.
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