Addiction treatment at Priory during the coronavirus outbreak
The coronavirus outbreak has led to many of us having to adapt to a lifestyle that is completely unfamiliar. For people experiencing alcohol and substance abuse issues, this situation can be incredibly challenging.
If you are in active addiction or addiction recovery, you may be worried about being ‘high risk’ due to an underlying respiratory issue associated with smoking or inhaling substances, or you may be concerned about the impact that alcohol and drug use can have on the immune system. You may also be dealing with loneliness during self-isolation, which is known to have a profound impact on those with addiction issues. These fears can be overwhelming, and become negative catalysts for unhealthy behaviours.
While it may be tempting and possible for some people to attempt to stop their behaviours at home, for many, this isn’t a safe or feasible option, even now when so much of our lives are restricted to being the home. People still need inpatient support to safely detox and undergo intensive addiction treatment.
How Priory addiction teams can support you during the coronavirus outbreak
Our addiction treatment team at Priory have been working hard to quickly and effectively adapt our practices so that we are able to safely provide addiction support. Watch our video (below) to find out more about how we have been changing our service in light of the coronavirus outbreak:
Free assessment programme
Our free assessment programme is still running, and we have adapted that, along with much of our addiction programme so that we are able to continue supporting people during this time.
Being in a residential treatment facility during lockdown
As many of us are practising self-isolation, some of our teams are finding that people are using this time to undergo private addiction rehabilitation.
For people within our residential treatment programme, we are ensuring social distancing measures are adhered to and infection control measures, such as regular hand washing, are in place. Additionally, all people taking part in an addiction treatment programme will have their own rooms.
Digitising our assessment process
Where possible, much like the rest of the world impacted by coronavirus, we have been busy digitising many elements of our addiction services.
We are able to offer free assessments for new inpatients either via telephone or using online communication platforms such as Skype so that people can stay at home while being assessed.
Once the assessment is carried out and a person is ready to be admitted, we have measurements in place to ensure we are conducting appropriate health checks.
Our digital counselling and support services
Feeling isolated is something that people with addiction may experience. Connection to others is important in recovery. While this connection may need to look different at the minute, it continues to be a key element of our addiction treatment.
In addition to social distancing, many of our services have also put the following digital measures in place at their hospitals:
- Telephone counselling for patients requiring 1:1 support
- Peer-supporters continue to work with current patients through 1:1 telephone calls
- Aftercare sessions for past patients are being run using Zoom video calling or done individually over the phone
- Using video calling to link in with local 12-Step meetings
- When patients discharge they are aware of local 12-Step meetings they are able to continue to access via video calling platforms or through online resources
How we are ensuring people’s safety
While we have tried to maintain continuity as much as possible, we are not able to offer some group sessions, including family groups at many of our services at this moment in time.
Limiting visitors is essential in making sure that we are ‘doing our bit’ in reducing the spread of coronavirus. However, we do make sure that people are able to stay connected to their families through phone calls or online video technology.
What if a person isn’t ready to go home into self-isolation after their residential treatment?
People who are about to complete their 28-day stay for addiction treatment may find our secondary addiction care centre, The Elphis, particularly valuable.
The Elphis is still able to assess and admit people safety and effectively, helping people to access continued support and maintain connection to the recovery community. Many day care services around the country have had to close and with the restriction on overseas travel, being in a recovery-focused, therapeutic environment can be beneficial for those who feel they need additional support to maintain their sobriety.
Priory Connect – our virtual therapy platform
We launched Priory Connect last month; this new platform brings our therapists into people’s homes, virtually. Allowing us to be flexible and meet the needs of the people we help and support, Priory is able to provide you with access to expert specialists from the comfort of your home through the online therapy service.
When accessing our online therapy, you will receive the same high regulatory standards that you would expect across all of our Priory services, and will be treated by highly trained therapists who are experts in their field. For more information on our online therapy service, please read our Priory Connect blog.
Hear from a person currently undergoing addiction treatment at Priory
We spoke to a patient from Priory Hospital Chelmsford about their experiences of treatment during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Lucia talks about how the treatment has been adapted, what she is looking forward to when she goes home and her plans for recovery. She also provides advice to others with addiction issues who feel that their behaviours may be becoming more challenging during the coronavirus outbreak.