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A Shift in Focus for UAB Medicine Addiction Recovery

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Patients with substance use disorders will be better matched with the right therapy at the right stage of treatment, thanks to changes in the UAB Medicine Addiction Recovery Program that focus more resources on outpatient care and partial-day and short-term inpatient services.

UAB’s residential unit closed August 1, after 20 years of providing secure overnight lodging for patients undergoing outpatient treatment. Inpatient care for drug and alcohol detox symptoms is still offered, typically for 7-12 days, and residential needs will be coordinated with partner programs, including select Sober Living partners.

The move also better aligns with most patients’ insurance plans, which rarely cover residential care. Also, most acute-care hospitals no longer provide inpatient space for outpatient substance use treatment programs.

Bronwyn McInturff, MSW, LICSW, recently was named director of the program. She is working closely with John Dantzler, vice chair for education and training in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology and director of the Beacon Recovery Program within the UAB Department of Psychiatry to coordinate addiction services across UAB Medicine.

McInturff says the mission of her program is to improve the lives of individuals and their families affected by alcohol and other drug use through compassionate treatment and education. In the past 12 months, the program completed more than 1,800 inpatient bedside consults, 200 treatment admissions, and 100 professional evaluations.

Changes to the program and new initiatives include:

  • Peer support specialists are being integrated into primary, emergency, and acute care, as well as Women & Infants Services. This model eventually may be expanded across UAB Medicine.
  • Weekly visits from Hand in Paw animal-assisted therapy
  • Collaboration with UAB Arts in Medicine on patient programming
  • Yoga and meditation
  • Post-recovery counseling
  • A group hosted by chaplain residents that focuses on the Enneagram of Personality, which is a set of nine strategies for relating to the self, others, and the world

Program services are summarized below:

  • Inpatient detox – medical management to prevent withdrawal and keep people stable and comfortable as they transition off of drugs and alcohol
  • Partial Hospitalization Program – combines elements of outpatient and inpatient treatment. While learning to cope without mood-altering substances, patients attend structured activities Monday-Friday from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm and return home at night.
  • Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) – structured to allow patients to work and attend to other obligations while learning about recovery. Program hours are 8:30 am to noon, with varying days available.
  • Continuing care – The Aftercare Program provides up to two years of continued individual and or group support, which is closely linked to long-term recovery success.
  • Individual therapy – one-on-one therapy for continuity of care after completing treatment
  • Professional evaluations – thorough assessments that provide a 360-degree view of the licensed professionals, the problem, and the solution. Following the evaluation, a formal report is developed that includes individualized recommendations for providing support and accountability and helping guide the monitoring process.
  • Family Support Group – education and support services that are free of charge and open to the public
  • Family therapy – marriage and family therapy services that help patients continue their work post-recovery

“Addressing substance use disorders is one of the most complex problems facing our society,” McInturff says. “Our approach to this challenge must be evidence-based and flexible to meet the vast needs of our area. The treatment landscape is changing at rapid pace, especially with utilizing medication-assisted therapy to augment traditional therapy, and UAB is on the cusp of that change. We are also sensitive to variations in people’s schedules and personal responsibilities, so we offer a variety of customized treatment options that still offer excellent results without the long residential stays that once were the norm.”

 

Visit uabmedicine.org/addiction to learn more about UAB Medicine Addiction Recovery services.