Preparing Clients for Outpatient Care

Physician preparing patient for outpatient treatment
Completing residential medical detox marks an important milestone for many people who are undergoing treatment for substance addiction.  Many may choose a continuing outpatient service that does not require 24-hour supervision at a facility. Health professionals need to prepare clients for this transition from inpatient to outpatient care.

Some people choose outpatient care because they want to regain control of their life without disrupting the normalcy of life. They want to get some help but are hesitant to live in a 24-hour monitored environment. These needs are understandable, but for them to benefit from outpatient care, they need to be educated about what to expect.

Effectiveness of Outpatient Treatment Programs

Research has shown that intensive outpatient programs can be as effective as inpatient treatment for those who seek continued care and guidance towards full recovery. Some programs offer a minimum of nine hours per week in three, 3-hour sessions. Other programs provide more sessions over a longer period.

Outpatient care allows recovering individuals to remain in their homes and communities while continuing to receive care for their post-sobriety recovery. This phase helps clients gradually transition into community life without medical supervision. In the medical and recovery community, outpatient treatment is regarded as equally important as regular residential treatment for people with substance use disorders.

Early-state Relapse Management and Coping Strategies

The goal of most outpatient treatment programs is to help the client learn how to cope and prevent early-stage signs of relapse after exiting a residential treatment facility. A person who has achieved early sobriety needs psychosocial support as well as coaching on how to cope with stress in normal but substance-free life.

The duration of outpatient services depends on the severity of the person’s conditions and needs. Most programs tailor their level of care to personalized needs, instead of following a predetermined length or methodology. Sometimes, outpatient programs may provide partial hospitalization and day treatment when clients show serious mental illness or overdose.

Preparation for Outpatient Care

Sometimes outpatient care is a better fit for clients with mild-to-moderate substance addiction or withdrawal symptoms. Outpatient detox may be an alternative to residential detox. In the meantime, they need a strong social support system from family and friends. Clients may also be encouraged to utilize support groups at the treatment center.

Scheduling can be a major issue for outpatient clients. To accommodate these clients, some outpatient treatment programs meet in the evenings or early mornings, because outpatient clients want to maintain their normal schedules.

Clients seeking outpatient care beyond inpatient programs should expect to go through a multi-dimensional and comprehensive assessment at the outpatient treatment center. This usually covers areas such as past substance addiction history, biomedical conditions and complications, emotional health, cognitive conditions, behavioral health, readiness to change, relapse history, living situation, and social relationships.

The purpose of this comprehensive assessment is to identify triggers and sources of stress in a client’s history and present living environment. The overall goal is to prevent relapse and manage stress.

Outpatient care also allows family members to be more involved in a loved one’s recovery. Many treatment centers have family therapy sessions to help clients reconnect and repair damage in family relationships.

Practical Advice Upon Choosing an Outpatient Treatment Program

Health professionals can help clients decide if outpatient care is right for them. A few factors may determine the appropriate level of care for clients. Below are a few descriptions of someone who might benefit more from an outpatient treatment program than inpatient care:

  • The client has reasonable physical and emotional stability.
  • The client does not need intensive care for addiction-related emergencies or mental health problems.
  • The client has a stable and sober home environment.
  • The client’s home environment is unlikely to trigger cravings.
  • The client is willing and able to dedicate time and space towards recovery and wellness.
  • The client prefers normalcy of life and a certain level of autonomy while maintaining sobriety.
  • The client hopes to maintain a presence at work, school, or with family.

Starting outpatient treatment also has risks compared to inpatient programs.  Outpatient treatment offers less medical assistance for a client.  The client will receive less support between sessions. Outpatient treatment is less effective for people who are developing severe dependence on substances. Because of the predefined structure, outpatient care may not have adequate treatment for co-occurring health issues, such as chronic pain or PTSD. Eventually, the decision should be based on a comprehensive evaluation of the client’s severity and complexity of addiction.

Intensive outpatient programs can be as effective as inpatient treatment for those who seek continued post-sobriety care or those who have mild substance use problems. Outpatient care also allows family members to be more involved in a loved one’s recovery. At Casa Recovery, each clients’ needs are evaluated and the decision for outpatient care is based on a range of factors. The goal is to maximize the benefits of treatment while considering the client’s need for a good quality of life. The outpatient care programs at Casa Recovery treat both the body and the mind. The facility’s therapists are highly experienced in addressing the individual needs of each client. A client’s treatment plan should be as unique as they are to maximize effectiveness. Casa Recovery customizes efficient and effective treatment methods that have been developed and applied in clinical settings. Early intervention is key. Do not delay any longer. Call Casa Recovery today at (888) 928-2272.

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