Harm reduction: Assessing the educational needs of family medicine residents in care of persons who inject drugs

Jarrett Sell, Adam Visconti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Rates of injection drug use and associated medical complications have increased, yet engagement of persons who inject drugs (PWID) in primary care is limited, with significant barriers to care. Family physicians play an important role in caring for PWID, but residency training is limited. This study aimed to assess role responsibility, self-efficacy, and attitudes of family medicine residents in caring for PWID. METHODS: Using a cross sectional design, family medicine residents in 2018 at three different programs completed Likert and open-ended survey questions assessing role responsibility, self-efficacy, and attitudes in caring for PWID. RESULTS: Fifty-five percent (41/76) of residents completed surveys. Residents consistently agreed it is their responsibility to provide comprehensive care for PWID, while being less confident in key elements of screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT). The largest gap between responsibility and confidence was in referral to treatment. Resident confidence was lowest for harm reduction strategies: discussing clean needle practices, prescribing naloxone and referral to medication-assisted treatment or needle exchange programs. Less than 60% of residents agreed they are able to work with or understand PWID. CONCLUSIONS: This study identifies gaps between provider responsibility and current graduate medical education training. We identified training that increases screening, harm reduction practices, and referrals to community resources as needs. This baseline assessment of family medicine residents can be used to develop educational interventions to meet regional and national health needs for harm reduction for PWID and workforce development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)514-517
Number of pages4
JournalFamily medicine
Volume52
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Family Practice

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