In southern Indiana, essential companies are ongoing for these in restoration from the coronavirus
SOUTH INDIANA – For people with active addiction or recovery, the isolation needed to mitigate COVID-19 can pose greater challenges. But those who work with this population are adjusting to make sure the services are still available.
Lauren Perryman, vice president of recovery services at LifeSpring Health Systems, said the facilities are still operating as normally as possible while adhering to health guidelines and social distancing mandates.
You are still enrolling patients and the enrollment process can be completed online. All usual services, including basic services, are still available. Mental health sessions have largely shifted to telemedicine. Case managers and peer coaches still meet face-to-face with clients when needed, and therapists are available to people in crisis who do not have access to the phone or the internet.
“Just go for it, ask for help,” she said. “Needing help now is not a sign of weakness – we all need it, and we all need people in our community and in our support systems. Don’t be afraid to get in touch as there are people here ready to help you. “
But she said one of the bigger changes right now is group work – LifeSpring has initially canceled groups for public health reasons and is working on getting things online for telemedicine sessions.
“Social support is definitely an important part of recovery,” said Perryman. “So it definitely has the effect that we can’t have that in a face-to-face group, and I think it’s not the same even if we do it again through telemedicine.”
David Hayden, vice president at Spero Health, also said it was critical to keep the services up and running to those in recovery, and their facilities have made an effort to do so.
“It was a really strange thing, the effects of the coronavirus on addiction,” he said. “Because all the direction we’re getting is social distancing and staying home and limiting your contact with people and stopping the spread of the disease and what we know about it.
“But when it comes to substance use disorder treatment, it requires a connection – you don’t want people to be alone or isolated, you want them to connect and achieve that recovery through others. So it was a real balancing act for us. “
Spero, which provides one-on-one and group counseling, recovery services, general medical services, and drug treatments, has moved group sessions to Zoom meetings and is involved in telemedicine where possible.
When patients or customers need to be seen in person, they have tried to reschedule appointments so as to have as few people in the buildings as possible. They have around 100 customers in total at the Jeffersonville location and are accepting new ones.
“We have some guidelines in place on who should and should not be seen in the office,” said Hayden. “We want to see people at higher risk of relapse in the office more often, and we just do that in a way that follows it [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] Guidelines. “
Hayden said there has been no disruption to customers being able to get medication and staff are working to link them to pharmacies that deliver. Their risk factors – social support network, coping skills, stressors, stage of recovery – determine how often they are seen in the office.
“It has been more stressful for a lot of our patients,” he said, adding, “we check in with them more often just to evaluate how they are doing.”
Many 12-step programs that many people rely on to keep their sobriety have moved group meetings to an online platform as well.
The Alcoholics Anonymous Area 23 website, which includes Clark and Floyd towns, currently lists more than two dozen online AA meetings each day of the week.
“By attending digital meetings, group members can focus on AA’s primary purpose: delivering the message of recovery to the alcoholic who is still suffering,” said a press release released on March 23 by the AA General Service Office for the United States and Canada is a resource for local groups.
“AA in the digital age has certainly taken on new meaning in these challenging times, reminding its members and those in search of help that AA is not just a ‘place’ but exists in the hearts, minds and the help offered . “
Perryman said she heard good things from LifeSpring customers who took part in the online groups.
“I’ve heard a lot of good feedback from customers about being able to participate virtually,” said Perryman. “It’s not the same, but it’s something. I think this will help [be] this additional opportunity to speak openly with people who are going through the same or similar situations. “
She said that LifeSpring employees also know very well that people are coming straight from inpatient facilities during this time.
“This is a really difficult time to successfully complete this program and move from a place where you have 24/7 personal support to a world where personal contact has decreased so drastically,” she said.
“Our peer recovery coaches have been very helpful during this time as they are a really good connection between professional support and people focused on early recovery.”
LifeSpring also has a 24-hour emergency line on 812-280-2080.
Perryman said boredom itself can be a trigger for relapse, and she encouraged addicts to develop healthy habits and routines to mitigate this – this could be as simple as going for a walk or finding a hobby they enjoy .
“You don’t have to do anything big, you don’t have to make any major life changes right now,” she said. “Your ultimate goal is to survive from both COVID-19 and the crisis you have already faced from addiction.”