transitional recovery plan

The Importance of a Transitional Recovery Plan

At Galen Hope, we believe very strongly in a transitional recovery plan for our clients.

It is important to understand the benefits of this type of treatment model. Transitional recovery may begin with a partial hospitalization program (PHP) and may move into a tiered intensive outpatient program (IOP). It may also include supportive housing. Regardless of the exact order or details, a transitional recovery plan should always include a focus on community integration.

Let’s look at transitional recovery is, what community integration in recovery means in this context, and at what the benefits are of focusing on community integration for long-term recovery.

Before we go much further, a word about the term “recovery” as used here: recovery is an applicable terminology for many diagnoses like eating disorders, depression, and anxiety disorders. For some mental health conditions, like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, schizo-affective disorder, and others, the focus is on lifelong management. In all of these cases, however, there is evidence that transitional plans and community integration can be very helpful.

The Challenge:

As we’ve mentioned in our blog before, programs often focus on measurable goals, like weight indicators or the number of days one has abstained from using drugs or alcohol or self-harm, and use those metrics to determine when a patient is ready to step down into a partial hospitalization program (PHP) or to begin the process of returning to life outside of the treatment facility. But sometimes, perhaps more often than anyone would like to discuss, patients are stepped down before they are truly ready—while the physical recovery has begun, the journey of healing the underlying psychology behind their disorder has only barely started.

The result of this too-fast process, often, is relapse. This can be true for those managing life-long mental health conditions, and those in eating disorder recovery. Studies indicate that as many as 35 and 41% of anorexia nervosa patients relapse within 18 months of leaving treatment.

These statistics support our observations (and the stories we hear from others) about those who move out of treatment and into the “real world.” And it’s a scenario that we believe can be addressed.

The Solution:

Unsurprisingly to us at Galen Hope, the same study indicates that of patients who undergo ongoing treatment in a transitional program, 70% did not relapse, and only 11% experienced a full relapse.

When a client joins us at Galen Hope, we spend a great amount of time working on the skills they will need when they transition from our treatment process. This, of course, in addition to the specialized treatment for their condition or conditions. In our adult IOP program, we offer a full core life skills curriculum to help our clients to revisit—or sometimes learn and practice for the first time—the tactics and techniques that will help them to reintegrate after treatment.

We view this transitional recovery process as vital to all of our clients, because the hard truth is that both mental health struggles and extended periods of time in hospital or treatment settings often cause people to miss key milestones or end up feeling sort of “frozen in time” while the world moves on around them. It’s easy for any of us to fall out of practice in core skills like communication, decision making, and time management.

Transitional Recovery Plans

When our clients demonstrate a readiness to move to a lower level of care, we work with them to build a plan to help support them in that transition. We deeply encourage them to remain in a partnership with their treatment team as they navigate the challenges of their lives outside of a higher level of care setting.

Before they step down, we work to practice accountability. We try to help them to utilize the relationships they have built with their peers and team while in treatment to give themselves the confidence to stumble and pick themselves back up as they titrate down the time spent in our programming.

This is the nature of transitional treatment and of community integration as a part of a recovery plan.

In 1970s, a group of care providers in Madison, Wisconsin began to outline what would become known as the Program for Assertive Community Treatment (or PACT) to “ensure that the patient received all services needed to remain in the community and function optimally with the highest possible quality of life.”

This idea, which is central to our treatment philosophy at Galen Hope, involves connecting clients with “a multidisciplinary team (including some combination of psychiatrists, nurses, social workers, vocational rehabilitation specialists, and case managers) that was available 24 hours per day and provided services to the patient for an indefinite time.”

Stepping down in treatment is often complicated, and sometimes rather frightening. We hope that by building this community of treatment and support into our transition plans, we can help that recovery (or management) to be more successful in the long run.

We believe, as is foundational to PACT, that those with mental health diagnoses deserve to be treated in the least restrictive environment possible. Regardless of the severity or duration of the illness, we strive to reduce repeated hospitalizations and residential stays and help our clients build a life outside of the treatment bubble and institutional settings.

the road to wellness starts by seeking help. today.

Built on the principles of assertive community treatment, Galen Hope is an eating disorder and mental health treatment center offering individualized treatment options that include Intensive Outpatient (IOP), supported housing, and Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP). As a “Community of Integrated Wellness,” we pride ourselves in fostering a thoughtful and meaningful care experience that can guide our clients on their road to recovery and increased quality of life, regardless of diagnosis. Galen Hope currently offers separate, age-specific programming for adolescents ages 12-17 and adults 18 and up, of all genders.

To learn more, or to join our community for integrated wellness, please contact us today.

Belong. Heal. Grow.

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