What to expect
Entering treatment can be difficult. Knowing what to expect will make that first step easier. This section provides useful basic information to help you to understand that various stages of the treatment journey.
We can’t be too specific about treatment because a lot depends on you and your individual circumstances. This is just a general guide. Everybody’s treatment is different because they are different. Basically, we are “experts” on drugs and but you are the expert on you.
Drug use causes problems for people psychologically (e.g. It can make you depressed), socially (it may affect your housing or your family relationships) and physically (you might be dependent-the rattle, you might have injecting injuries, or be at risk of infection). It can also cause people to commit crimes.
We aim to help in all those areas and your key worker is the person you can work with to solve the problems drugs have caused. Treatment can take a long time and patience is vital. If stopping drugs was easy you would have done it yourself ages ago without any help.
Some Information for Families & Carers
If you are supporting some one through drug treatment find out where you can get some support for yourself.
If your area is a hi member you will find local support services by going to the services option on the main menu. Here you will get a description of the services you can expect and a map showing where the service is located. You can also use the family and carers groups page by clicking on 'groups' on the main menu. By joining or starting a group you can share your worries, experiences, good and bad. Remember, when you sign up for a hi account you do not need to use your real name.
Who may be involved in the drug treatment system?
There may be a number of people involved in the treatment journey, and from time to time they will discuss the progress the person is making.
Discussing progress can only happen when the service users has given consent for information to be shared. Many family members want to support the person through their treatment journey. It is often very frustrating when they call the service to find out how their family member is doing only to be told that the service cannot share that information.
The service user must give consent for information to be shared with anyone, just in the same way a GP cannot share information about your health unless you are aware of it. When a family member decides to enter treatment, it is work while to discuss with them what your involvement will be.
Some of the workers will work from a medical perspective, the physical effects of drug use and substitute prescribing and any physical health issues that may exist. Others will work from the social perspective, this includes, working with the person to develop an understanding of their behaviour and its consequences. The social model also supports the person to develop positive interests and participate in society in a rewarding way.
- Prescribing nurse/doctor
- Community psychiatric nurse
- Key worker
- Counsellor (talking therapy)
- Community support staff
- Structured day programme team
- DIP (drug intervention teams)
- Probation teams
- Social workers
- Community midwife
The first stage of treatment is assessment. This is where you meet a worker to discuss your case and your particular needs. The worker may need to find out a lot about you, your background and circumstances, and the nature of your drug problem. What that means is lots of questions (sorry!) and probably a drug test. The drug test is normally a urine sample, we will just ask you to provide a sample (privately) in a special pot.
From that you and the worker will start to agree a care plan.
A care plan is exactly what it says-a plan of your care. It will be agreed by you and all the bits in it described for you. There is a lot of information to take in at parts of the drug treatment journey, just make sure to ask if you have any questions. Don’t be shy about this, remember that the worker does this all the time and should have many ways of describing the same thing to suit you.
You will be given a copy to take home (if you wish) so that you have it all written down and you know what happens next, what that means and who to call if you need extra help. The care plan changes as you change and improve in treatment so you and your key worker will regularly go through it and change it to fit you NOW.
After assessment you will leave with an appointment to start treatment. The wait from assessment to treatment will usually be about one week or less. That treatment may be an appointment with the doctor to start prescribing, an appointment with a key worker to start psychological work or a group. There are lots of different options and the person who assesses you will go through them all with you.
This is a journey, not everyone travels at the same speed, just make sure that you have the support you need along the way.
Top 10 things...
Top 10 things a partnership could do to engage family members and carers to ensure effective treatment
1. Empower Carers
- Involve them in meetings/consult with them regularly/provide training and support.
- Insert example of good practice – Offers received from: Newcastle or Sunderland.
2. Publicise carer support services
- Ensure GP surgeries/community services have appropriate and up to date leaflets/directories.
3. Have a clear and effective process for accessing respite
- Offer a variety of respite opportunities to ensure there are choices, promote respite to local carer groups.
4. Have access to Local Authority carer assessments
- Examples of good practice – offers received from Stockton – access to LA carers assessments are written into SLA’s. Newcastle – need to check with Gail.
5. Have specific finance/budget set aside for carer developments
- Need local clarity about different mainstream funding and how to access it.
6. Be proactive in accessing hidden carers.
7. Cover off training issues
Ensure staff within different agencies (housing/probation/social services etc) are appropriately trained to be responsive to the needs of carers/families affected by someone else’s substance misuse.
8. Have an effective Harm Reduction Strategy in place
- It should acknowledge the role carers play in terms of BBV/Naloxone training and involve carers in their protocols accordingly.
9. Have effective Information Sharing
- I.e. 3 way care planning between the service user, carer and treatment provider.
- Effective drug alert systems
- Good communication between partnership / commissioner, carers and service providers to ensure appropriate services were being provided.
10. Ensure the needs / issues in relation to kinship carers are being addressed
- Financial support, housing