Addiction services and recovery in a time of physical distancing and COVID-19
Addiction services are considered among ‘essential health services’ during the COVID-19 pandemic. For that reason, our residential treatment centre remains open to treat our members, and we are accepting new members into the centre after they have been carefully screened for the Coronavirus. We have multiplied our cleaning and sanitation efforts, as well as put a COVID-19 management plan into play. Our staff remain vigilant and strictly follow all health and safety protocols for physical distancing.
Addiction services are considered necessary because substance use disorders are currently more lethal than COVID-19
Approximately 6 million Canadians will meet the criteria for addiction services over the course of their lives, while one-in-five Canadians will experience symptoms of depression. The impact on the mental health of Canadians is more than ever. We see this with the panic-buying, self-isolation, and financial instability that comes along with a pandemic of this proportion.
While many of us are doing our part by physical distancing, unfortunately, many people are second-guessing their decisions to get residential (inpatient) addiction treatment.
Should you go to a residential treatment program for addiction services during COVID-19?
We want to be very clear that we are not looking to profit from the panic and suffering created by this pandemic. We are an addiction services healthcare facility above all, and it is our duty to provide the best care for our members suffering from mental health and substance use disorders. Our staff take their jobs very personally and seriously, and every day go beyond what is asked of them.
This is a life-saving treatment. Waiting for help is dangerous.
As an addiction services healthcare facility, we are taking very strict precautions to keep our members and staff safe. We have published a COVID-19 action plan on our website. We have also instructed all staff who can do so to work from home. We are offering our Continuing Care programs and individual counselling online where possible. Since we are healthcare providers, we have doctors and nurses on staff daily and as such can provide excellent medical care as needed.
Addiction services are just not available at hospitals during this pandemic
We have a fully functional medical detox unit at Aurora Recovery Centre. Our members in residence have access to complete medical care without having to be in an emergency room full of people who are potentially infected with COVID-19.
It may be more important than ever to enter treatment right now
If someone with a substance use disorder suffers a crisis or an overdose, they would be sent to their nearest hospital emergency department, where the risk of exposure to COVID-19 is increased. Our hospitals are struggling right now due to an increased number of patients, lack of medical supplies and nursing shortages. Our public healthcare system, emergency and ICU beds will be increasingly overwhelmed as time goes on.
When new members come to Aurora, they can go through detox without worrying about coronavirus. They can still get their medications without having to go to their doctor’s office or pharmacy and risk additional exposure.
Self-isolation and physical distancing can trigger people with substance use disorders
While many of us remain in our homes, for people with substance use disorders or in early recovery, this can create difficult challenges. Physical-distancing and self-isolation can present unique problems for people with substance use disorders. Isolation and loneliness have well-established negative consequences on people’s physical and emotional well-being.
In the recovery community, we know that ‘community’ or our ‘fellowship’ is critical to achieving and maintaining sobriety; that’s why we offer Continuing Care for our alumni. That’s also why we refer our patients to groups such as 12-step or wellbriety groups in their communities when they finish treatment. Physical distancing and self-isolation can be damaging to the recovery of our members and alumni.
Some people in recovery risk relapse, while others who are still actively using risk increased drug or alcohol consumption if they are alone at home, not working, or stressed about their finances.
If a person in recovery is self-isolated with a family member or friend with a substance use disorder, there could be unintended negative consequences. If an active user cannot obtain their supply of drugs or alcohol they could be forced to detox at home: a potentially dangerous situation that could be fatal.
While some people may see it as an opportunity to try to quit on their own, if they find themselves in that situation, they may feel that they need some help. The good news is that we are open and continuously welcoming new members into our facilities. Our Addiction Specialists are on call 24/7.
Substance use increases the risk of exposure to Coronavirus
Smoking anything will make a person vulnerable to lung infections. Chronic use of alcohol or opioids will negatively affect the immune system and are also associated with an increased risk of lung disease.
A residential addiction treatment centre is a safer place to be during COVID-19
Aurora Recovery Centre follows best practices for Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) and has a 24/7 medical team on staff. We are one of the safest places for you during the COVID-19 pandemic; with the added benefit of starting your recovery towards a healthier, happier, and more productive life.
We hear from our addiction services staff that many of our members have shared that they feel safer from COVID-19 at Aurora than they would feel elsewhere. Residential addiction treatment is a place for self-care and learning lifelong recovery skills while leaning on a supportive community.
We encourage everyone to review testimonials from our alumni, in which they share about the urgency they needed to get care.
The takeaway here is that Aurora Recovery Centre is open for business through this pandemic both at our residential treatment program and virtually. If you or a loved one is suffering from a substance use disorder, the safest place to be throughout this ordeal is in treatment, and we will be able to admit you with no wait so that you too can achieve ‘Recovery for Life’.