Is it REALLY Patient-Centered Care???

Is it REALLY Patient-Centered Care???

May 22, 2019

How often do we see treatment facilities boast patient-centered care? Who would NOT want it??? There are certain catchphrases that we hear in this field, like “comprehensive”, “evidence-based”, etc. Patient-centered care is a sophisticated way to describe personalized and tailored care for each client.  Despite all claims, addiction treatment has historically tended to be “one size fits all”. However, research and field advancements have found that we are each unique and require care that is specialized for their needs. While diagnoses may be the same or similar- backgrounds, culture, biology, personality, preferences and learning styles are very different.

Even the word “individual” implies that we are all different. Yet when arriving at many addiction treatment programs it is clear that most clients are given the same schedule of groups, treatment interventions, similar treatment plans and the same homework to complete. If a particular group does not fit their needs they may be told things such as “you have to try – you don’t know what’s best for you.” While it is true that those who struggle with substance use disorder need guidance, there is still room for meeting individual needs.

What does it truly mean to meet the needs of the individual? It is clear that in a group treatment setting it is virtually impossible not to fall into a practice of conformity because of logistics and convenience.  While there may be particular “tracks” in a treatment center, it is very hard to tailor each group to all clients’ needs and learning styles. However, moving treatment from a residential treatment center or clinic to client homes leaves no choice but to deliver individualized care.  Care is literally centered around the client, because it is delivered in their home environment, involves one-on-one work, addresses family systems issues and is unique to their situation. In-Home Addiction Treatment (IHAT) = truly person-centered care.

We hear countless reports of clients who have attended addiction programs that were in treatment centers and clinics and were unable to either relate, pay attention, feel safe and comfortable or apply what they had learned to real life.  When they experience IHAT, it is a massive shift for them and at times they may even feel overwhelmed by the immense focus on THEM. While recovering at home can be challenging, it allows individuals to deal with and work through precipitants to relapse and to address the unique needs of the family system.  

The IHAT Institute’s mission is to train addiction treatment professionals so that there is more access to this patient-centered care model.  It is our goal to increase the quality of care for as many individuals as possible. Education and increasing awareness are the most effective ways to accomplish this objective. We continue to shift the paradigm as we shift the focus solely on the client.

By Sarah Benton, LMHC, LPC and Sara Kaiser, MS Ed, LPN

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