Avoiding Covid-19 Outbreaks in Residential Treatment Settings

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On the 9th of October, a new study was released that details the different problems faced by residential substance use disorder clinics when it comes to Covid-19. The study talks about the guidelines that were originally published on the issue, the best standards of practice currently, and the outcomes from some of these measures. I wanted to cover this topic again, as a few months ago I covered what some of the best drug rehabs in Florida have done to avoid Covid-19 infections inside residential treatment facilities. 

In my opinion, there are two main points when it comes to the guidelines from the American Society of Addiction Medicine. These are triage and screening. The screening portion is somewhat more intuitive. When patients are entering residential treatment there is a lengthy intake process anyway, so adding Covid-19 screening to that series of steps takes time and effort, but it is easy to understand how it would be done. The other important point from the national guidelines is the triaging of patients based on need or accepting people for treatment based on need. This mainly comes down to whether people are housed or not before entering treatment, and also adding those people that have an urgent need for daily medical care. Then there are general procedures and guidelines for residential treatment when someone in the facility is positive or a negative test case that is likely actually positive with Covid-19 disease. This is the process of separating those people for the safety of everyone, while still making it possible to treat everyone safely and effectively during the period when the positive or likely-positive patient is quarantined. 

The following is the guiding principle for residential treatment during the current crisis, and the center I write for, the best drug rehab in Florida, Florida Springs Wellness and Recovery, is following these guidelines exactly, has been following them from the beginning, and has so far mitigated the risk of Covid-19 to patients and staff,

“In addition to the risks associated with COVID-19, the current crisis is increasing risks associated with substance use and substance use disorder – due to the anxiety, social isolation, and stress associated with the pandemic and its necessary response. It is critical that addiction treatment services remain accessible throughout this crisis. The goal is to protect the health of residents and staff in residential treatment facilities and reduce, or ideally prevent, the spread of COVID-19 in the community while maintaining treatment services in a therapeutic environment.”

According to the study from the Journal of Addiction Disease controlling infection in a SUD residential setting is challenging because these facilities are not locked, and they are considered a subacute level of care. This has been the experience of my coworkers who work in a medical position at the treatment facility, but so far these guidelines have served to keep everyone relatively safe considering the level of positive cases in the community around our treatment center. Luckily for Florida Springs, the county that we are located in has not been a place of highest concern for Covid-19 infection, despite being in Florida. The best drug rehabs in Florida, Alabama, and everywhere else are closely monitoring patients for Covid-19 because overdoses and relapses are way up during the pandemic, and it is especially important that we stay open right now. If you or a loved one needs more information on treatment options, please go to the programs page on this website.

By T.A. Cannon (Contact me at TACannonWriting@gmail.com)

 

References

FAREED, A.; FAREED, M. Mitigation of Covid-19 infection in substance use disorder residential settings. Journal of addictive diseases, [s. l.], p. 1–4, 2020. DOI 10.1080/10550887.2020.1826098. Disponível em: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=mnh&AN=33036545&authtype=geo&geocustid=s8475741&site=ehost-live&scope=site. Acesso em: 16 out. 2020.

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