Aftercare monitoring services in the addiction treatment industry are eclectic and diverse. There are many aftercare monitoring services available to former drug rehab patients. Many of the services offered in addiction aftercare monitoring programs include case management and urinalysis testing ? but these are inadequate when it comes to monitoring a drug addict’s schedule, meeting attendance and general recovery status. There are newer addiction treatment aftercare monitoring systems being developed at Sovereign Health and other drug rehab facilities that more effectively monitor a patient’s aftercare status after leaving drug rehab. These aftercare monitoring systems are much more in-depth and utilize current technology more fully to track, monitor and case manage individual patients recently discharged from drug treatment.
Current addiction treatment systems that are in place for aftercare monitoring are often understaffed and unorganized. Whilst many of the aftercare monitoring programs available today are good intentioned, the process often falls short of doing what it advertises.
The essential elements of a good aftercare monitoring system, for people with substance abuse issues, involves personalized case management, effective tracking, frequent and random urinalysis testing and resource management.
The Essential Elements of an Effective Aftercare Monitoring System Include:
Urinalysis Testing or Drug Testing – A good aftercare monitoring system will involve a way for former drug rehab patients to be frequently and randomly drug tested. New technology is currently being developed at Sovereign Health to make this process much more cost effective, time efficient and convenient than previously used monitoring systems. Urinalysis testing for drug and alcohol use remains the most effective way to validate an addict’s sobriety. The judicial system has developed the most creative ways to monitor a person’s drug and alcohol use. As demonstrated by Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and other celebrities, drug and alcohol use monitoring devices are plentiful, but costly. Electronic monitoring of drug and alcohol use through bracelets, ‘patches’ and various video electronic systems are effective in monitoring and deterring drug and alcohol use, but abstinence is only part of an effective aftercare monitoring program for drug addicts and alcoholics.
Case Management – Case management is an essential part of any aftercare monitoring program for former drug rehab patients. Aftercare case management often involves direct or indirect methods of clinical contact. This means that people struggling with drug addiction or alcohol dependence have some kind of frequent human contact with an expert in addiction treatment, to monitor and motivate them in their recovery efforts. The frequency and quality of contact often determines the clinical efficacy and quality of an aftercare drug treatment monitoring program. Very few aftercare drug treatment programs do this effectively and some fall far short of the ideal, resulting in a waste of time and money for the patient. An aftercare system that utilizes a model of daily ‘check-ins’ and monitoring is the highest available standard of aftercare monitoring programs.
New systems, utilizing current technology, are advancing the way people ‘check-in’ with case managers in the healthcare business. LifeWIRE is a new technology already in place around the country that is an effective, efficient case management and monitoring tool for healthcare professionals. LifeWIRE is essentially a phone texting system that allows doctors, nurses and drug treatment providers to ‘check-in’, update and monitor their patient/client’s treatment. LifeWIRE is one of the first healthcare monitoring systems developed to utilize cell phone technology as a clinical tool. Doctors, drug rehab service providers and other healthcare professionals (including myself) have found the LifeWIRE system to be a valuable tool in reminding patients of appointments, monitoring their aftercare treatment and gathering outcome data for analysis.
Resource Management and Recovery Tracking ? Another aspect of effective drug treatment aftercare monitoring programs is resource management and tracking. Resource management and tracking involves the gathering of data and the dissemination of that data to the appropriate resources at the appropriate time. For example, if it is determined that a client is doing poorly, through the case management or UA monitoring system previously mentioned, then an intervention is needed and the aftercare program should provide immediate assistance to the struggling individual. Often this is best done through a team of readily available healthcare resources. An effective addiction treatment aftercare program will have an elaborate system of healthcare resources and referrals readily available to assist a struggling client. In addiction treatment aftercare this means having interventionists, drug rehab facilities, physicians, detox facilities and clinicians available at the touch of a button, so to speak, should a client be in need of assistance.
Developing and implementing an effective aftercare monitoring program in addiction treatment is tricky, but progress is being made. New technology is playing a huge role in creating effective and efficient addiction treatment aftercare monitoring programs. Soon, cell phone and IPad applications will be developed that incorporate all the necessary ingredients of a successful aftercare monitoring program and will go as far as offering drug rehab services in the palm of your hand. Aftercare addiction treatment services may soon be available on your IPad or IPhone. IPad drug rehab may seem impractical and impersonal now, but today’s youth is being brought up in a different world of interpersonal interaction. With the further development and universal accessibility of live video chatting, people will become more accustomed to interacting remotely (see CISCO’s ads). This will make healthcare ? and drug treatment in particular ? more affordable, effective (I think) and accessible. In fact, addiction treatment should be the forerunner of using this technology in the clinical/therapeutic format. Addiction treatment and drug rehabs across the nation naturally fit in with the new technology being developed in healthcare. The drug rehab industry should lead the therapeutic technology revolution. Brendan Bickley
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