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Subst Use Misuse. 2009;44(5):672-83. doi: 10.1080/10826080802494701.

Rationale and staff evaluation of using a "therapeutic milieu" for substance users within a tuberculosis ward.

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Department of Tuberculosis and AIDS, Public Health Services, Ministry of Health, Jerusalem, Israel.


Approximately 30% of tuberculosis (TB) patients in Israel were treated, in part, in two dedicated hospital wards during the years 2003-2005. A portion of them manifested severe psychosocial conditions. An intervention based on the "Therapeutic Milieu" (TM) model was implemented in the larger ward and included a staff evaluation of this intervention. The concept of TM, based on psychosocial paradigms and behavioral medicine, is aimed at providing a supportive environment for patients. Weekly group patients' meetings and monthly group staff supervisions were performed during 15 months (2003-2005). Forty of the 196 (20%) TB patients, mainly "complex," and 13 of 20 staff members (65%) attended regularly and discussed how to deal with substance abuse, personality disorders, and immigration-related crises. Out of 40 TB cases, 30 (75%) were also substance users. Ten staff members self-analyzed the impact of this intervention in terms of (1) having given adequate tools for the staff, (2) reducing physical violence, (3) increasing adherence to TB treatment, and (4) more efficient treatment for their substance use. No direct evaluation was done among the TB patients. According to staff members, this intervention had a positive overall impact. However, using Therapeutic Milieu in TB ward hospitalization, as a "window of opportunity," remains the first step in a longer journey for rehabilitation. The study's limitations are noted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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