Use of nonstigmatizing language is associated with improved outcomes in hospitalized people who inject drugs
Journal of hospital medicine
BACKGROUND: Stigma surrounding opioid use disorder (OUD) is a barrier to treatment. The use of stigmatizing language may be evidence of negative views toward patients. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to identify associations between language and clinical outcomes in patients admitted for infectious complications of OUD. DESIGNS: We performed a retrospective medical record review. SETTINGS AND PARTICIPANTS: Four U.S. academic health systems. Participants were patients with OUD admitted for infectious complications of injection opioid use from January 1, 2018, to December 31, 2018, identified through international classification of diseases, 10th revision codes consistent with OUD and acute bacterial/fungal infection. MAIN OUTCOME AND MEASURES: Discharge summaries were reviewed for language, specifically: abuse, addiction, dependence, misuse, use disorder, intravenous drug use, and others. Binary outcomes including medication for OUD, planned discharge, naloxone provision, and an OUD treatment plan were evaluated using logistic regressions and admission duration was evaluated using Gamma regression. RESULTS: A total of 1285 records were reviewed and 328 met inclusion criteria. Of those, 191 (58%) were male, with a median age of 38 years. The most common term was "abuse" (219, 67%), whereas "use disorder" was recorded in 75 (23%) records. Having "use disorder" in the discharge summary was associated with increased odds of having a documented plan for ongoing OUD treatment (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]: 4.11, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.89-8.93) and having a documented plan for addiction-specific follow-up care (AOR: 2.31, 95% CI: 1.30-4.09). CONCLUSIONS: Stigmatizing language was common in this study of patients hospitalized for infectious complications of OUD. Best-practice language was uncommon, but when used was associated with increased odds of addiction treatment and specialty care referrals.
Carpenter, Joseph E.; Catalanotti, Jillian; Notis, Melissa; Brokus, Christopher; Moran, Timothy P.; Akselrod, Hana; Burkholder, Greer; Eaton, Ellen F.; Kuo, Irene; Mai, William; McGonigle, Keanan; Steck, Alaina; Del Rio, Carlos; Saag, Michael; Kottilil, Shyamasundaran; Masur, Henry; Kattakuzhy, Sarah; and Rosenthal, Elana S., "Use of nonstigmatizing language is associated with improved outcomes in hospitalized people who inject drugs" (2023). GW Authored Works. Paper 2749.