As the number of infections arising from the coronavirus pandemic continues increasing, drug addicts can still receive treatment in rehabs.
The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) affirmed that due to social distancing, quarantine, anxiety, and stress linked with the COVID-19 pandemic response, the risks connected with drug abuse would likely rise. Therefore, addiction treatment rehabs must continue operating, provided that they focus on giving patients and staff a safe and therapeutic environment.
Two standard rehab treatment programs available across America include inpatient and outpatient treatment.
Inpatient treatment facilities, also known as residential treatment programs, are rehabs where patients stay for extended periods. Usually, the average period is 30 days, but depending on the severity of drug addiction, some patients can remain there for 60 to 90 days or even longer.
Inpatient rehab provides addicts with an opportunity to stay away from access to drugs or substances and concentrate fully on their addiction treatment. The main benefit of this program is that a patient has fulltime care and is around a community of recovery. However, during coronavirus pandemic, some people may fear to get or transmit coronavirus infections.
Guidelines Used for Inpatient Program to Control Coronavirus Pandemic
The American Society of Addiction Medicine has suggested the following measure to ensure safety and hygienic treatment to help those with substance and drug use disorders.
- Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus pandemic or has been in close contact with an infected person should undergo tests before entering into the rehab program.
- A 24 hours isolation period may be applicable for new patients while their health is evaluated.
- Existing patients should undergo COVID-19 screenings and be informed of the symptoms to expect. For any possible symptoms, rehab providers should quarantine affected patients and provide face masks and hand sanitizers while they wait for COVID-19 test results. Also, they should ensure they contact the local health department
- If patients test positive, providers should arrange plans to initiate temporary virtual treatment and preferably in collaboration with their primary care doctor.
- All visitors and staff should be screened for cough, fever, shortness of breath, sore throat, and muscle aches, which are the common coronavirus pandemic symptoms every time they enter a rehab facility.
- Rehab providers should limit the number of visitors entering the facility to one per patient or even discontinue the entry of visitors.
- Providers should implement improved cleaning for facilities. For instance, surfaces that people touch frequently, such as doorknobs, keys, countertops, desks, phones, faucets, among others, should be sterilized multiple times every day.
- The staff should clean every resident-care equipment after each use. Soap, water, or hand sanitizers should always be available in every room. The team should wear gloves every time they handle deliveries.
- Inpatient rehabs should also implement physical distancing and eliminate unnecessary physical contact while maintaining a distance of six feet among individuals.
- Providers should also rearrange typical sections and alter some groups to maintain the number of people below ten.
Outpatient Treatment Guidelines
Outpatient rehab is a program intended for those with mild addictions or professional responsibilities that allow them to remain at home but visit a rehab facility during the day to obtain treatment.
Before new patients begin the outpatient treatment, a provider should screen them via phone for symptoms, and later when they visit the center. Any COVID-19-related symptoms should initiate virus tests immediately. For any positive tests, patients should isolate themselves from the rest and the staff and then consider establishing a telehealth treatment plan.
Final Thoughts on Coronavirus Pandemic
Substance abuse disorders contribute to thousands of lives yearly, so rehab providers should evaluate the risks for each patient on an individual basis during the pandemic.
Later, patients who test negative for COVID-19 symptoms can start or continue treatment. Also, they should always follow sanitary and physical distancing standards as the best steps of controlling the coronavirus pandemic.