12 May How treatment programs adapted to COVID-19
During the pandemic, the repercussions were felt worldwide. Some sectors moved online, and some temporarily closed, but others didn’t have a choice; they needed to continue their work and quickly adapt to the new regulations. Likewise, drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs needed to adjust rapidly to keep treating their clients. It was undoubtedly one of the most challenging times for anyone in the medical industry. In this article, we will talk about treatment programs’ struggles during this time, how they overcame them, and how the services we provide remain unchanged. There were many lessons learned during the pandemic.
The struggles that rehabilitation centres faced during the pandemic
At the pandemic’s beginning, the struggles were at their most significant. Due to the uncertainty of the virus and how soon the world would get over it, panic was at an all-time high. As safety measures were implemented worldwide, there were shortages in crucial resources and even staff when they came into contact with the virus. This unprecedented global event and a lack of preparedness did not look hopeful for many in the medical industry. On top of all of this, there was an increased demand for treatment as the lockdown dramatically affected everyone’s mental health. For someone suffering from drug and alcohol addiction, the chances of relapse were heightened by the significant shift towards isolation.
A major benefit of drug rehab includes in-person support and personal guidance from counsellors, doctors, and therapists. Furthermore, creating a social network that aids someone’s recovery can be detrimental to their progress. Even group therapy sessions, which often act as a cornerstone in someone’s healing journey, could not occur as they once did. Therefore, for much-needed help to still be provided to clients, it was crucial to adapt treatment methods and keep the ball rolling.
The measures implemented during the pandemic to aid addiction treatment.
Soon into the pandemic, a worldwide collaborative effort researched studies that might help with the situation, both published and unpublished. There were quickly advised methods for treatment centres to implement if they felt that it would help. Thankfully, these measures were in place quickly enough to limit the negative results of lockdown on patients who were suffering from drug and alcohol addiction at that time. Below are some of the ways drug rehabilitation centres adapted to Covid-19.
Increased and easier access to medication
A big fear due to the lockdown was the lack of emotional support, both social and professional, that would be unavailable to the people who needed it most. One of the first measures put in place was to allow addicts easier access to medication such as methadone. Although this is often a last resort of treatment, there was a mutual agreement that permitting easy access to these drugs would decrease the chances of relapse.
This included giving patients increased allowances in their prescriptions, allowing other people to collect them, and eliminating the need for a face-to-face review before each one. In some places, a medication delivery service was also made available. This new measure meant that there would be much less chance of relapse, which was possibly the biggest concern at the time due to isolation and the inability to socialise or get to a pharmacist as often as needed.
Reducing and reorganising face-to-face care
One of the things that was going to be difficult for treatment programs to overcome was the need for face-to-face care and support. This included adjusting the hours of care given, the number of visits allowed, the methods used, and the rules of conduct.
Users had to be categorised into levels of vulnerability, meaning that support and care would be distributed to where it was most needed. In residential treatment centres, social distancing and safety measures were also implemented. This included restricting visits from family members when someone was residing at drug rehab.
Due to the government guidelines at the time, when a therapy or counselling session did take place, it needed to be done wearing the correct PPE and involve appropriate social distancing. Afterwards, the facility would need to be thoroughly disinfected before another patient could be seen; this resulted in each session taking longer than before and fewer people being seen overall.
Due to these issues, a revolutionary step in therapy took place. Covid-19 led to online, video, and over-the-phone counselling and therapy sessions. This meant that people now had access to instant, around-the-clock support whenever they needed it. As a result, we are now seeing many positives around the world due to more options for remote emotional support and therapy. This has to be one of the major positives to have come out of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Rethinking group therapy sessions
With the rise of technology that could help us communicate via video chats, it became easy to initiate group therapy sessions, which was one of the biggest concerns at the very beginning. This meant that all patients still had the opportunity to take part and have access to the support circles they very much needed.
In-person group sessions were still available for the most vulnerable apart from at the height of the pandemic. However, these took place with covid-19 PPE and social distancing in place, making them slightly less effective than usual.
There were many trials and obstacles to overcome during the Covid-19 pandemic, but with much effort, it was possible to find a way. There have also been many breakthroughs with increased access to therapy from anywhere in the world. In some countries, we are even seeing a decreased number of people struggling with drug and alcohol addiction due to this. However, Covid-19 was a difficult time for most people, and we are yet to see the true emotional and psychological effects that it has had. Rehabilitation programs are now more prepared than ever to deal with whatever comes their way. The pandemic may be over, but we are constantly improving and developing ways to deal with whatever the repercussions might be.
Do you need support?
If you have found yourself struggling emotionally, or turning to frequent use of drugs or alcohol, get in touch with Calm Rehab today. Our drug rehab in Bali is here to provide the support you need to beat addiction and deal with trauma. Since the pandemic, it has not been easy adjusting to normality for many people. It is important to make sure you are not suffering alone and seek the help and advice of professionals to guide you through these next important steps of your life.