DDN October 2020 ‘We have a unique role in breaking county lines’ - Page 15

RESIDENTIAL

THE RIGHT CHOICES

Lockdown has been a reminder that residential rehabs are an essential part of the treatment landscape and must remain so , says Hannah Shead of Trevi House , part of the Choices network

It feels too soon to start

reflecting on COVID . We are still very much living it , and will do so for some time to come . However , it does feel the right time to stop and recognise the remarkable collaboration and innovation of people working in the residential rehab sector . It also feels important to acknowledge that against a backdrop of uncertainty and fear , a significant number of people have made great gains in their recovery – some good things have happened during some crazy , scary weeks .
Like most rehabs , Trevi quickly implemented a lockdown model . We reduced the footfall of staff coming onto project and moved to a model whereby small teams came and lived and worked on site for three days . Groups were ‘ Zoomed ’ into the home , as were the women ’ s sessions with their one-to-one therapists , and everyone pitched in with cooking and cleaning . Staff knew that keeping Trevi open was a top
‘... a significant number of people have made great gains in their recovery – some good things have happened during some crazy , scary weeks .’
priority , as many of the women only have their child in their care as a result of being placed together with us . If Trevi had closed not only could it have jeopardised their recovery , it would also have meant separation from their child .
One of the interesting trends from rehabs in the Choices network is how few unplanned exits we saw during this period . At Trevi ,
no one left during the lockdown . The women trusted us to keep them and their children safe whilst they continued to focus on their recovery . This is a theme echoed through the network , with many rehabs in the Choices network reporting 100 per cent completion rates during lockdown .
Rehabs also found ways to innovate , despite fewer staff attending on site . At Yeldall , for example , the residents worked together to create a prayer garden . ‘ It ’ s been beautiful to see everyone come together and do their own little bit of the prayer garden , and it ’ s really helped me mentally and spiritually to come down here and meditate ,’ says James , a resident .
Sadly , not all rehabs were able to keep their doors open – it just wasn ’ t safe enough . Hebron House made the difficult decision to close before the peak of the pandemic . Using a mix of phone calls , Zoom and WhatsApp , the team soon put together a seven-day-a-week programme of groups or one-toone
support that residents could access from their homes .
‘ We thought that this would be a “ holding zone ” until we reopened but it soon became clear that these women were working hard and progressing on their journey ,’ says Emma , Hebron ’ s CEO . ‘ A wonderful secondary benefit of this programme meant that we also connected with up to 40 ex-graduates who joined in some of the activities , and all participated on WhatsApp .’ Hebron has now reopened and is including Zoom for pre-admission interviews and its aftercare programme .
As we look to the future , those of us in the Choices network are all wondering what ‘ living with COVID ’ is going to be like . We are trying our hardest to adapt to our new normal , but anyone who has ever worked in a rehab will know how counterintuitive it is to enforce social distancing – learning how to connect with people physically is often part of the recovery journey . I hope that one thing the last few weeks has demonstrated is that residential rehab remains a vital part of the treatment landscape . The Choices network have worked with a large number of incredibly vulnerable people during lockdown , not just keeping them safe and alive but sowing the seeds of recovery and helping to prepare them for a life free from addiction .
As those in power start to make some tough decisions about budgets , drug and alcohol treatment funding and the longer term COVID recovery , I hope that investment in the residential sector is recognised as an essential , not a luxury .
Find out more about the Choices network and the work of its member rehabs at choicesrehabs . com
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