Addressing long term recovery often takes more than one episode of primary residential treatment. While the purpose of residential treatment is to provide a safe, structured living environment to help an individual stabilize, detox from drugs and alcohol and begin the early healthy coping skills necessary to help them on their journey to sobriety, it is just the beginning. A good in-patient residential treatment program does not stop once the client completes 28-30 days of treatment. The introduction of a strong continuing care plan should begin once the client completes detox before they exit in-patient treatment.
What is a continuing care plan? A continuing care plan is a collaborative partnership between a clinical case manager, the client and the therapist to design an individualized plan that provides a safety net of resources to continue their addiction treatment work. This could include Partial Hospitalization, Intensive Outpatient and active 12- step programming and sometimes sober living.
Why is continued “step –down” treatment important for long-term sobriety? According to NIDA, relapse is common in addiction treatment, with relapse rates being between 40 and 60 percent. Preventing relapse must include a continuing care plan that supports the individual in their early recovery. The Journal of Psychiatry published a 2014 review article, “The Continuing Care Model of Substance Use Treatment: What Works, and When Is “Enough,” “Enough?” Findings suggest that the overarching objective of any continuing care model should be to sustain treatment gains attained in the primary phase in an effort to ultimately prevent relapse.
In addition to our early primary addiction treatment offered at Harmony Foundation, we have also included a clinical case management team trained to work in partnership with the client and therapists to identify the “right” plan for each person. With over 47 years of treating individuals with substance use disorders, we have fostered partnerships with external providers to help our alumni be successful. “The most critical aspect of building a continuing care plan with our clients is letting them drive their recovery planning process. Telling them what to do and where to go doesn’t allow them to embrace their recovery.” says Alyssa Hansen, Director of Clinical Case Management.
Fostering this partnership and building a continuing care plan has shown positive results. According to M. Vannicelli , overall, continuing care participation in the first 3 months following discharge from residential treatment appears to be significantly related to fewer days since last drink and lower levels of alcohol-related impairment at both 3 and 6 months. Harmony has seen its own positive results in post-treatment engagement with over 54% of clients staying connected to a continuing care plan after 12 months.
When exploring residential treatment, asking about continuing care is as important as learning about the detox process. Without a solid, compassionate and collaborative continuing care team working with the client to approach life outside of residential team, clients may not be sufficiently prepared for their early journey of sobriety.
To learn more about Harmony Foundation Clinical Case Management, Click Here to listen to the team talk more about their important work in facilitating a recovery direction that is designed to be supportive and engaging, helping clients succeed.