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Expanding Harm Reduction: Exploring Barriers and Facilitators in Hospital Settings

Ballard, Savannah (2024) Expanding Harm Reduction: Exploring Barriers and Facilitators in Hospital Settings. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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Opioid overdose deaths are preventable. Every preventable death, regardless of the number, is one too many. Harm reduction is an approach to care that is inclusive and free from stigma and discrimination, which serves to connect individuals with supplies and care and decreases risks associated with drug use. Integrating harm reduction principles and strategies into hospital settings represents a significant public health advancement in addressing the essential needs of an underserved population. This literature review examines the current practice of harm reduction in hospital settings as well as barriers to implementation and proposes strategies to support the expansion of HR in hospital settings. A search of the literature was conducted using PubMed and Ovid, employing a combination of keywords related to “harm reduction interventions,” “inpatient,” “hospitalization,” “medication-assisted treatment,” “stigma,” and “infectious disease rates.” The lack of literature on harm reduction in hospitals demonstrates the need for research to understand further barriers and facilitators to care in the healthcare system. Harm reduction interventions experience challenges when introducing new approaches to care, but with proper education and engagement, many hospitals shift the culture within the hospital environment. Sustaining a culture change in attitudes, beliefs, and biases within healthcare and research professionals is vital to increasing access to care and reducing the stigma associated with PWUD. Future research should center around rural and urban hospitals, the resources available, and local policies to understand the feasibility of introducing harm reduction into hospital settings. Expanding harm reduction practice in healthcare settings has great potential to improve the healthcare experience of PWUD and reduce substance use-related stigma, reduce infectious disease rates, improve health outcomes, and increase access to care.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Ballard, Savannahsab496@pitt.edusab496
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairKrier, Sarahsek29@pitt.edusek29UNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberHawk, Marymary.hawk@pitt.edumary.hawkUNSPECIFIED
Date: 17 May 2024
Date Type: Completion
Submission Date: 29 April 2024
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 45
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Infectious Diseases and Microbiology
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: harm reduction, hospitals, barriers, infectious disease, stigma
Date Deposited: 17 May 2024 21:06
Last Modified: 17 May 2024 21:06


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