The Effects of Covid-19
Our team talks about how COVID-19 has affected recovery journeys, the overall mental health of individuals, and how treatment centers provide care.
- How COVID required treatment centers to shift tremendously and how Peaks Recovery adapted
- How COVID gave treatment providers a chance to better their quality of care and grow in ways they weren’t aware of in the beginning.
- How Peaks saw a shift in the dynamic of calls/clients due to the isolation COVID brought forth
For any addiction treatment center that was paying attention during that time there were incredible opportunities to learn more and grow as an institution and 100% forced that growth almost immediately.
here we are again good to be back good to be in the hot seat the host seat another finding peaks episode here so today we’re bringing forward uh because the viewers the people on the other side of this camera have been interested in i know this world talks about covet all the time and for very good reasons but the viewers have been interested in what does that look like i think within addiction treatment culture and also too what are those sort of dynamics the features of it that we’re starting to see maybe starting to take place you know within current programming and to just talk about that a little bit so excuse me viewers for having my phone out here but we’ve got some data on this and so what took place during addiction treatment um as the height of covid was taking place was there was a lot of movement to telehealth practices to create that distance uh and so forth an addiction treatment culture but the data is in and so what it kind of looked like within addiction treatment culture was 85 percent of all treatment was delivered face-to-face and telehealth sort of a back and forth 82 of all treatment was delivered face-to-face still an inpatient program and 69 of all treatment was delivered telehealth only uh during the pandemic or certainly during the height of all of the lockdowns and so forth what’s interesting about the data is that uh 91 satisfaction with face-to-face and telehealth uh 85 satisfaction with face-to-face only and 76 satisfaction with telehealth only which lets us know that in some way telehealth wasn’t totally satisfying to our patient demographic so i’ll just read a few quotes here from that survey i very much need to be at in-person groups these telehealth stuff has been very hard for me especially when people are in the group and they never reveal their faces this other comment is very straightforward zoom sucks
it really put a damper on my recovery i didn’t like the zoom meetings it wasn’t like in person meetings going from regular person meetings where there were bonds and physical embraces with other fellow addicts to the zoom meetings made me feel more isolated and depressed uh the zoom sessions are still challenging because we can’t hear everything people say so technology issues there and finally zoom meetings are a great in a pinch however i don’t get the same benefits as i would from in-person meetings so my takeaway from the reading of that is that first and foremost there’s a big part of recovery journeys is about interdependence right connection and so forth and um where am i going with this so having some interdependence and connecting features it seems like we got a bit away from that in telehealth strategies and i know at pink’s we had a ton of challenges because we didn’t have internet and all these sort of features about it but you know kind of going back and reviewing namely what it was like for us jason at that time what was your experience about being an inpatient program at that time and what we saw from the patient demographic because we couldn’t bring in outside services we couldn’t bring them off campus and all these sort of features and i definitely want to recognize that i think it caused something it definitely caused something it’s interesting listening to you talk because i when i go back in that period of time first of all one of my first reactions was i felt a lot of frustration frankly with um some of the national organizing bodies in our field that we got no direction for how to proceed in a pandemic and like i remember even like five or six years ago when we were writing our uh policies around for the joint commission you know i think we probably had a pandemic response page or something and uh it did no good like we had a completely paragraph yeah yeah and i remember there was a day uh where um i think one of our clients like this is way early on like just when the pandemic was beginning where the we had a client with a fever and like we just we sent all clinicians home and we’re like we’re gonna we’re gonna go all online it was just a very reactive period i think the world was afraid it didn’t we didn’t know how to adjust and cope to it and then we had no direction i think um from anybody frankly and and so we were making it up on the fly and um i think it took us uh right around i don’t know 15 minutes to figure out that going all zoom was going to be a huge mistake
trying to manage a room none of us were trained on how to do teletherapy either and there wasn’t a class and at least my master’s program about how to do uh telehealth courses when i did my master’s program there wasn’t internet that wasn’t yeah it was carrier pigeons but we couldn’t even figure that out um but i do think you know overall what we ended up doing at peaks is we created a couple different clinical teams actually that would come in for seven days and then be off for seven days and i’m not sure that was the best plan either however uh from that model we started to figure a thing out where the clients were on our campus and we got to put on these seven day kind of intensives as each team came in uh we we did kind of an intensive week where seven days in a row they had the same clinicians and then those clinicians were off and the next crew came on and so from that actually uh we birthed some remnants of that as our current curriculum honestly that we we found that really taking a topic instead of having one group a week for the course of their stay but how about taking a week and actually having a topic for a week created a level of depth to the topic and the continuity and a real cohesion uh amongst the clients so that they had um one topic to work on i don’t know if that answered your question only brandon but like i that was my recollection of it it was rough um and we learned some things from it yeah put it in a sentence um and thank you for uh yielding that question because it was pretty open-ended and abroad yeah you did great there was one question yeah really things were greatly frustrated during that time but i think what’s uh unique about this as well too you know clint you weren’t with us in that inpatient model but you were working for an opioid treatment program known as otp models that exist out there as a clinic and so i think that adds some you know flavor and perspective as well too to what that dynamic was like for those operations and sort of curious in an entirely different setting in that regard what that looked like for you guys in that going through that yeah it was um much different i mean uh the outpatient world um we went essentially overnight we went 100 telehealth at least with the counseling component of the programming we also had the medical component where people would come in daily for medication and rather than you know a small campus of people we were serving across the three clinics around like maybe 1200 people so the risk of transmission and the fear and the uh was incredible and we were limited you can only bring like 10 people into a facility at a time and that included staff members so we had these huge lines of people around buildings um it was a it was chaotic in a different way uh and logistically was um challenging for sure but to jason’s point earlier like there you know i was at the time in charge of um you know quality assurance and documentation and so basically got kind of pegged um along with the other leadership numbers to to create a telehealth program out of out of thin air basically because there was even though i went to school and graduated at a later date than jason there was still no telehealth training it’s kind of always been some a fringe kind of thing that um again overnight had to become the forefront method for communication and delivery of services so uh i remember going to training after training we would just find random trainings wherever we could plug yourself in um try to get some insight into what the um the world was doing not only from a clinical perspective but also from a medical perspective because those clinics have both components so it it was um it was intense and uh but it was effective you know and it worked and we were able to nail something down and again like um take different pieces of that and build better programming overall yeah and i think the biggest thing that i learned from that was it actually forced a different level of communication like um now at peaks we use uh like google chat right um or a lot of people were using at the time um we were using a microsoft platform but they’re the sort of like chat message culture that where everything became very much real-time um access to individuals within interdisciplinary teams actually improved in those moments so i think that the actual that the cohesion within the um within staff became much much much better like the everything became real time there was not nearly as much lag and there was uh it kind of forced everybody to really talk to one another so for that i think that’s the one thing that i took out of it that i think we will just never go away at least you know you you talking about that clinton i we have three different campuses right we have our men’s campus or women’s and then our administrative campus and i hadn’t thought of this but we used to really feel very separate before code like everything felt so separate but now it is nothing to have meetings with people in person and on video and so though i think the clinical challenges are there i do think our meetings and the quality of the meetings are the same virtually or um in person which i think is another interesting shift like to even comprehend having video meetings it just wasn’t a thing and i think we’re all much more tech savvy now i mean it just kind of you’ve had to become tech savvy and now even though we’re not uh we do focus almost really on the in-person exchange for clinical services and medical services at the residential level i think that we know how to utilize these technological these these technical components in order to actually accentuate rather than replace the sort of programming that we have and um yeah i mean you guys have three campuses and at the time i was working for three clinics in three different cities so being able to communicate to every single clinician at the same time with the most recent up-to-date information i think that now um that same sort of practice happens at peaks and i think it and just keeps again everything is all about right now you know there’s no lag and i think that the quality of care for the client has greatly improved and benefited because of it yeah absolutely i mean if for any addiction treatment center that was paying attention during that time there was incredible opportunities to learn more and grow as an institution and i think 100 percent it forced that growth almost immediately i remember just sitting myself in my dinner table at uh at my house at night time trying to figure out how to use gmf and you know it software and the sort of thing to connect ipads to put into patient rooms and that sort of thing and keep people separated and distanced and you know so in that regard it was real time learning how to do things with limited resources to be able to pull it off and so you know sort of invigorating in hindsight and certainly propelled uh you know our company forward i’m sure many addiction treatment cultures forward at that point as well too but also thinking about you know so logistically the industry should have gotten better in a variety of different ways but there is you know at the same time with all the social distancing the public health orders that limited people and travel and all that sort of stuff created a lot of isolation for individuals and overworking particularly for our company and supporting our admissions department over the past seven weeks or so i hear it a lot on the phones that i was a sort of normal drinker i felt like prior to the pandemic i got isolated and then just me sitting in my home with that bottle it became my next friend my best friend in fact in that regard and so in many ways that lack of interdependence and that isolation caused significant issues for individuals who otherwise may have just been on normie style journeys in that regard but mental health acuity seemingly went up and certainly addiction i think went up as a natural result of that especially in alcoholism so i’ve heard it on the phone certainly brought people into the center you know who’ve had that story and then you know now in your guys experiences and hearing you know in group settings and individual settings what does that kind of look like that we can share with the viewers of what this has caused through that clinical lens yeah there developed a new demographic of client that i hadn’t seen before and it were there particularly service workers right that got laid off um and then got unemployment checks that were i had a lot of people come to me and say i made more money on unemployment um than i had ever made in my life and i was sitting alone sitting at home alone and then there’s an app that i don’t really care to advertise where they could order liquor delivered to their house every day and it created a perfect storm of really young service industry alcoholics and we have started to see them uh come to peaks where to your point maybe you know maybe they push some boundaries with how much they drink but being at home and being isolated and then having access to an entire liquor store through their phone that would be delivered and having more money than they’ve ever had with no really other way to spend it um it created this this demographic of people that were really isolated alone and not to mention i mean the overdoses are through the roof last year right i think that that data is in and clear um and suicides are up dramatically as well that isolation piece um is certainly a hidden uh component of this pandemic that you know we feel we’re still we are still feeling the reverberations of that i think absolutely and i think it goes to that idea um you know that the opposite of addiction is connection correct yeah so this this in this lack of connection um triggered or pushed over the edge people that were maybe already teetering or feeling slightly disconnected or maybe i don’t know if you’re like me work is a huge connection you know like i that’s all i do because you know you know that very well yeah you guys are my best friends yeah this is your social time right now yeah flower right here this is the best 15 minutes of my week
but i think that losing it it shows i think as a society how important it is for us to stay connected to one another and when we don’t feel connected we have this void that sort of forms and we’re gonna fill that void of however we can and at the time there when you can’t leave your house i mean you what else are you gonna do netflix will only take you so far so when i think it i mean it is an interesting point because yeah on the flip side of that you know we are you know my experience during the pandemic too is that like i saw my family and then i saw my work family and that is it i didn’t see my extended family for months and months i didn’t see my friends you know like we just we all got very isolated and to your point like fortunately we worked in an industry that needed to keep showing up and being on campus and like what a grace that was honestly because you know when i’ve had these clients come in and are like i was at home getting a 600 a week check
um part of me is like yeah that had been me i don’t know how to cope with that that’s crazy and even being you know watching people you know having our whole clinical staff work from home right like starting off you know people are they they look okay in the beginning because i i mean you’re you’re doing video calls all day long you know i always made a real effort to always do face-to-face calls like make sure like hey turn your camera on i want to see you um i just think it’s important for us to be able to connect and see one another um but there is a sort of steady grade of that a decline of mental health in general because i think even that virtual connection it’s better than nothing but it’s no replacement and i think that kind of speaks to the data that you mentioned at the very top of this that the that need for actual interaction and connection even within a physical place even if you’re not touching there’s just some sort of like energetic mumbo jumbo that’s happening that actually helps us stay healthy and stay i don’t know human yeah yeah when it never
i have never read in any textbook in our field where an entire population is going through a shared trauma right clinicians clients like some of those walls of like it started to come down that we were all kind of in it absolutely and we were all kind of this wasn’t like i’m counting i’m providing this counseling it’s like well we’re all kind of trying to survive right and i remember too like if clients wanted to leave during that time i’m like can i explain to you what the outside world is like you are you have more social connection in here you have more freedom in here you have a basketball hoop yeah you have all these things you can do in here you go home you don’t have any of this good for retention brandon but yeah right yeah so uh well i think i think this is great because it ties into the initial data that i was talking it was well to hear that that fallout and that negativity as an experience it wasn’t all negative but certainly and certainly individuals experienced telehealth in a positive aspect but what they lost was that connecting piece of it what inpatient programs lost at the same time was the ability to bring outside sources and connecting you know pieces into treatment in that regard and as well too as the pandemic continues to thrive in a variety of ways with the delta variant delta plus the lambda variance and all these sort of things what is happening that i want to be clear with the world about in front of us is that addiction treatment centers aren’t armed with public health orders or any of this sort of piece at this time and so the general propensity for somebody who comes in and tests positive for covid is that they are going to be removed from the treatment setting and not able to access care and with that signing off thanks for joining us again here at finding peeks um find us on the socials the facebooks the instagrams the podcast please be sure to email us findingpeakspeaksrecovery.com for more insights and questions again to this covid piece that we’re doing here today is because of the viewers you called on us to speak to it a little bit so we are always going to deliver you know answers moving forward on for the questions that you have so thanks again for joining us love you all stay safe until next time you
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