Telephone-based aftercare after inpatient drug rehab fosters compliance

inpatient drug rehab telephone-based aftercare

Numerous studies have determined that intensive outreach and care after discharge from inpatient drug rehab demonstrated favorable outcomes for patients compared to standard outpatient treatment. However, most programs were short-lived and did not place an emphasis on the inclusion of family members or significant others in follow-up treatment plans.

A new study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment sought to address both issues using AiRCare, an addiction aftercare program that involved regular telephone communication between clinicians, patients and loved ones over a 12-month period after discharge from residential addiction treatment.

The program was structured to deliver case management-style follow-up treatment — defined by the study’s authors as “a coordinated approach to the delivery of substance use, psychiatric, medical, and social services, in which there is a linkage with appropriate services to address specific needs and achieve stated goals” — through continuous outreach in which clinicians evaluated patient adherence to their individualized aftercare plan and had the option to let family and significant others actively participate.

Researchers followed 379 substance use disorder patients that opted to utilize the post-residential AiRCare aftercare program, which involved telephone contact by clinicians from their residential treatment center. The program sought to ensure patient accountability and compliance with aftercare goals and expectations, including medication management, abstinence, meeting attendance and/or regular drug urinalysis.

Patients were required to be in contact within the first seven days of discharge from their residential treatment center. Over a 12-month period, there was a minimum of 23 planned telephone calls with patients directly, where clinicians asked a series of questions regarding quality of life, compliance, progress and potential complications they may have experienced. A minimum of 23 calls to… (continue reading)