How Do I Know If a Treatment Center Is Prepared for COVID-19?

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In the midst of this pandemic, many individuals are using this time to get help with their substance use issues. Unfortunately, there are some of concerns to whether or not it is safe to admit yourself or a loved one into a rehabilitation center. This apprehension is not unwarranted, and it is important to make sure the center you choose is taking the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of the individuals they treat. Below are som e key points that should be addressed during this epidemic. When talking to a prospective treatment center, be sure that they have guidelines in place, so you r or your loved ones’ recovery is done in a healthy environment.

What to look for:

1. Do they have a quarantine space set up for new patients?

As COVID-19 case continue to increase, it has been recommended that individuals who have been in contact with people who show symptoms or have been in areas where the virus is prevalent to spend 14 days in quarantine or isolation from others. A good center will have guidelines in place to keep new patients away from older ones when they first arrive for treatment. This protocol works both ways and keeps everyone safe. The term quarantine tends to have a stigma attached to it, but do not let the phrase scare you. It is simply a precautionary measure that keeps people from interacting until it can be established that they are not a threat of infecting others. A good center will still be able to provide a high level of care during this time, and most centers already have protocols that keep new admits away from the general population as they start their transition into treatment. The Coronavirus may make this time slightly longer than usual, but it ensures a safe environment for an individual for the rest of their stay at the facility. It also gives peace of mind to the individual and their families who are already enrolled in treatment at that center.

2. What are the center’s cleaning and sanitation protocols?

When looking into a prospective center it is important to ask this question and you will be able to learn a lot from how they respond. A good center should be able to list off exactly how they are handling this, and that is the type of information you need. Do not accept answers that are simple like: “We are doing everything possible to keep are center clean and sanitized.” Ensure you know exactly what they are doing. It is recommended that a facility sanitizes everything multiple times a day when there isn’t a pandemic, so most healthcare facilities should be prepared to increase this action during time of crisis. For more information on what is suggested for healthcare facilities, in terms of infection control visit the CDC’s Official Recommendation webpage.

3. Is the center limiting access to its center from high risk areas?

If new cases continue to rise, there are certain regions that will be hit harder than others. Since many rehabilitation centers regularly accept individuals from all over the country, and sometimes the world, it important to see if they have certain protocols in place to prevent furthering the spread of infection. Ask them if they are currently restricting access to their facility, and if they are you can be confident that they are regularly monitoring the progression of COVID-19. That being said, understand that rehabilitation centers may have practices in place that allow them to accept anyone. So just because they don’t have restrictions in place does not mean the center is being negligent. Most rehabilitation centers have partnerships with or fall under the umbrella of a larger health care organization. This may allow them to execute certain procedures to ensure everyone’s safety without having to restrict access to their center. So, ensure you get all the fact before deciding against a prospective treatment center.

The above is just a small overview for things to consider when looking into treatment options. Be sure to contact facilities directly to get up to date information on how they are handling COVID-19 and remember that every facility will be handling this situation a little differently. So, if their protocols differ from the above-mentioned information, it does not mean they are being negligent. The best center for you will be the one you are most comfortable with after understanding what guidelines they have in place and what they will do to ensure the well-being of you or your loved one.

DRS counselor

CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS ARTICLE

Marcel Gemme has been helping people struggling with addiction for over 19 years. He first started as an intake counselor for a drug rehabilitation center in 2000. During his 5 years as an intake counselor, he helped many addicts get the treatment they needed. With drug and alcohol problems constantly on the rise in the United States and Canada, he decided to use the Internet as a way to educate and help many more people in both those countries. This was 15 years ago. Since then, Marcel has built two of the largest websites in the U.S. and Canada which reach and help millions of people each year. He is an author and a leader in the field of drug and alcohol addiction. His main focus is threefold: education, prevention and rehabilitation. To this day, he still strives to be at the forefront of technology in order to help more and more people. He is a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Treatment Specialist graduate with Honours of Stratford Career Institute. Marcel has also received a certificate from Harvard for completing a course entitled The Opioid Crisis in America and a certificate from The University of Adelaide for completing a course entitled AddictionX: Managing Addiction: A Framework for Succesful Treatment.

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