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NCCHC leaps into spring with educational conference
By Elizabeth Liwazer
Published: 06/04/2007

Caduceus2 Editor’s note: Elizabeth Liwazer from the National Commission on Correctional Health Care was kind enough to send us an overview of NCCHC’s recent Updates in Correctional Health Care conference. If you’d like to have an overview about your recent conference published, email it to us at editor@corrections.com. To give readers the full experience of your conference be sure to include photos of the event, and a short bio of the person writing about the event.

Experts in correctional health care captivated nearly 1,000 professionals in early May at the National Commission on Correctional Health Care’s Updates in Correctional Health Care conference. Held in Orlando at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, this four-day event included two days of in-depth preconference seminars and 60 speakers who covered 45 sessions on recent developments in medical, professional advancement, legal/ethical, risk management and mental health and other topics.

Participants discussed how to effectively deal with the challenges they face. Specialists shared new strategies, procedures and practice treatments. In the hallways between sessions and during exhibit hall breaks, attendees networked with one another, exchanging information and comparing notes about how to implement the ideas they gathered. The consensus was that this conference one of the best.

Information That Matters

Because inmates arriving to correctional facilities may be withdrawing from alcohol, illegal drugs or prescription drug abuse, nurses need to be exceptionally vigilant about identifying these patients and documenting their findings. Since prisons, jails and juvenile facilities all deal with this problem Susan Laffan, a principal of Specialized Medical Consultants, presented The Withdrawal and Detoxification Process: A Nursing Care Perspective. Laffan, also an RN, reminded the audience that any treatment, intervention or action provided should be reassessed to ensure its efficacy. To ensure proper care, everything must be documented. “If it isn’t documented, it didn’t happen,” she stressed. In addition to describing detoxification protocols, she provided memorable case studies that none in the audience could soon forget.

Eminent consultant, Dr. Joseph Paris, had answers to that pervasive question, Why did the Inmate Sue Us? In his presentation, he reviewed inmates’ constitutional rights to care, a professional opinion and to care that is ordered. He also explained that litigation may follow if any of these rights are perceived as having been breached.

Paris described lawsuits concerning injuries that occurred not only while the inmate was in custody but also after release; delivery system flaws that led to erratic administration of prescribed medications; and glitches such as delays in diagnostic tests, medications, consultations, and surgeries. In many cases, costly defenses could have been avoided by improved delivery mechanisms, continuous quality improvement initiatives, attention to detail, better communication and grievance resolution. In addition to encouraging the large audience to learn from the mistakes of others, Dr. Paris also echoed Laffan’s advice about documenting every action correctly.

Everyone in the room was riveted by Beyond Good and Evil: The Nature of the Psychopath Personality, presented Drs. Dean Aufderheide and Laura Bedard, both with the Florida Department of Corrections. Found across all races, cultures and ethnic groups, the psychopath is “a person with antisocial personality disorder; especially one manifested in perverted, criminal or amoral behavior.” Roughly 15 to 20 percent of prisoners are classified as psychopaths. Their recidivism rate is twice that of other offenders and violent recidivism is three times the rate.

What’s more, they are four times more likely to commit a violent offense after release from intensive treatment. This raises a compelling ethical issue, Aufderheide said, because treated psychopaths are able to develop better manipulations and deceptions, which aids them in criminal activity.

A few other highlights included Chronic Disease Management by Dr. Todd Wilcox of the Salt Lake County Jail System; Bringing NCCHC Mental Health Guidelines to Life in a Juvenile Detention System: Forms, Audit Tools, Outcomes and Lessons Learned by LCSW Vickie DesCoteaux of the University of Connecticut Health Center, and LCSW Judith Robbins from Yale Behavioral Health/Yale Medical School; Challenges of Aging Inmates by Dr. Brie Williams; and the educational luncheon on Nonoccupational Exposure Prophylaxis: An Evidence-Based Review by Dr. Harish Moorjani of New York Medical College.

For more information about the conference or if you want to share your experience with others, go to the NCCHC website


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