With the opioid overdose crisis escalating in communities across the country, nurses in the Vacaville emergency department set out with a project to not only help Kaiser Permanente members, but also people in Solano County communities.
As part of a statewide effort, the Vacaville emergency department has successfully provided free Naloxone devices, which is a nasal spray used to reverse the effects of an overdose, to anyone coming into the emergency department. Despite their efforts, staff realized that to truly impact deaths related to opioid overdoses, distribution was needed in the community.
The most recent county data shows in 2021, 58 people in Solano County died from an opioid overdose, a nearly 500% increase since 2017.
“We looked at county data for overdose related emergency room visits and deaths, and that showed us the ones that needed this free lifesaving device the most weren’t necessarily coming to us, until it was too late, so we wanted to focus our efforts out in the community,” said Michael Williams, MBA, MSN, RN, Emergency Department Director, Vacaville Medical Center.
A grant was received from CA-Bridge Naloxone Distribution Program, which allowed the Vacaville team to implement their project in a meaningful way. The first event they attended at Hope Resource Fair, the team provided 500 devices to unhoused individuals along with resources and hands-on education about how to administer the drug.
Since the inaugural event in March of this year, ED staff have had booths at fairs and events throughout Solano County, and have distributed 2,800 Naloxone devices.
“We know that our outreach has led to the successful use of Naloxone in 19 cases,” added Michael. “We hope our work will continue to have a positive impact in our communities.”