How Recovery Specialists Have Adapted During The Pandemic

While the COVID-19 pandemic has continued far longer than anyone had hoped, individuals who are dealing with substance abuse issues or are involved in various types of counseling sessions have found their worlds turned upside down in regards to getting much-needed treatment. In the current age of lockdowns, social distancing, and limited gatherings, being able to continue treatment programs or get started in therapy can be difficult. However, most recovery specialists and therapists have found innovative ways to adapt to the pandemic.

Mobile Detox Centers

Since many people cannot come to the brick-and-mortar detox center, recovery specialists and therapists are instead going on the road with their treatment programs and taking the detox centers to individuals. Though still having to practice social distancing and wear masks or face shields, therapists and recovery specialists are doing such things as giving out free cell phones loaded with prepaid minutes to clients who may be homeless or unable to afford monthly cell phone payments. By doing so, clients can continue to speak to therapists over the phone or to recovery specialists when they are in need of certain services.

Virtual Counseling

Along with mobile detox centers, virtual counseling has become the new normal for many therapists and counselors. Done online using such sites as Zoom or Skype, counselors can still schedule regular appointments with their clients. However, rather than having in-person visits that may be prohibited due to the risk of coronavirus exposure, the counseling sessions can be held online.

Socially-Distant Support Groups

While many counseling and substance abuse services are being conducted online, many therapists and recovery specialists are still working to provide clients with socially-distant support groups. For areas where small gatherings of people are allowed, treatment centers are conducting in-person support groups where chairs are spaced six feet apart and participants are wearing masks or face shields. By being able to offer in-person group sessions, therapists believe this helps their clients maintain the support system that is so vital to success with any type of treatment program.

Curbside Pickup of Supplies

For treatment programs where needle exchanges have been part of the plan, many treatment facilities have now moved this to curbside pickup. Just as it is with many retail stores or restaurants, clients can simply pull into a parking space at the facility, let staff know they have arrived, and have needles or other supplies brought to their vehicle. As an added bonus, they can also use this time to speak to staff about any other concerns they may have, all the while being able to properly social distance from one another.

Temporary Detox Centers

Since it is now too risky to have multiple clients living in a residential treatment facility, many treatment centers have worked in conjunction with local hospitals to set up temporary detox centers. Using modular buildings, hospitals and treatment centers can set up living areas that still allow for proper social distancing and extra cleaning of the area. In most situations, the hospital and treatment facility will split the costs, with hospitals often serving meals and the treatment center providing beds and other furniture.

Over-the-Phone Check-In Services

While before the pandemic struck most clients were able to walk into a treatment facility and check-in face-to-face, check-in services have now mostly moved to over-the-phone or even online. Despite the changes, staff members can still get the vital information they need from clients and also answer any questions they may have about treatment programs or other issues.

Though it has taken a great deal of effort on the part of therapists and recovery specialists to implement these numerous changes over the past several months, the results have been quite impressive, as many clients continue to receive the crucial services they need to improve their lives. In the weeks and months ahead, therapists and others will be working even harder to ensure necessary services are given to those in need.

Alex Hamilton