What does the guidance say about access to residential treatment?

The first in a series of blogs by Phoenix Futures discussing aspects of residential treatment.

We recently launched a report looking at residential treatment in England, Making Rehab Matter, to highlight the severe problems people face when accessing residential treatment. The report makes recommendations about how we can work together to improve access.

Residential treatment is a clinically recommended treatment for people with multiple treatment needs. As a treatment, it is intensive, time-effective and cost-effective. Residential treatment provides an opportunity for people with a number of treatment needs to be comprehensively assessed, supported and treated in a single coordinated treatment episode.

And yet, access to residential treatment is a postcode lottery in England, with wide regional disparities of access. Whilst demand for drug treatment has increased over the last 10 years, the provision of residential treatment has declined by 50%. In some local authorities, there is no access to residential treatment at all. Overall just 0.8% of people in drug treatment can access residential treatment compared to 11% across Europe.

By working with people with lived experience, and many other stakeholders from across the drug and alcohol treatment sector, we highlighted how this dire situation could be improved to provide high-quality life-saving treatment to people who can best benefit from residential treatment.

You can read Making Rehab Work here

What do international and national standards say about rehab?

There is comprehensive guidance covering access to, and provision of, residential treatment at International, National and local levels.

International Standards

The World Health Organisation published an updated International Standards for the Treatment of Drug Use Disorders in March 2020

There are extensive references to residential treatment within the standards. Under Principle 1, as an essential service, they state that residential treatment should be available, accessible, attractive, and appropriate.

The standards go on to describe the role of residential treatment in treatment systems saying that “residential treatment may be required based on an individualised assessment for those with more severe or complex drug use disorders or additional social problems.”

Whilst Section 4.1.5 covers “Specialised long-term or residential treatment” provision in detail. It covers a treatment description, target population, goals, models and key components from admission to completion.

Read the full blog post here.

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We are proud to work in partnership with many of the leading charities and treatment providers in the sector.

This content was created by Phoenix Futures

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