Enhancing the Continuum of Care for Substance Abusers

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Background: In 2001, Pikes Peak Mental Health Center (Colorado Springs, Colorado) spearheaded a community collaboration to increase service capacity for substance abusers and reduce recidivism. In 2003, a Substance Abuse Advisory Council generated community support through substance abuse education activities and fund raising. It developed a program that entailed a recovery home and shelter for clients, intensive case management, and outpatient programs.

Methods: A task force was initiated to develop community solutions. Each stakeholder evaluated the issue of substance abuse as it related to his or her agency's perspective and collaborated to develop solutions within a broader community context. The project's goals were to (1) establish community awareness regarding the discrepancies between quality in care and the complex interactions of substance abuse variables, (2) eliminate the fragmentation between care providers, and (3) produce an enhanced continuum of care.

Results: Improvements were evident in all six performance measures (p < .05)—detoxification access, services, and continuum of care. For example, overall reduction in the recidivism rate has shown a 23% decrease since the project's inception. Capacity increased by 42% from 2004 to 2005. Since 2003, self-referrals to the detoxification unit have increased by 44%.

Discussion: On the basis of the outcomes, Pikes Peak Mental Health Center's Detoxification/Acute Unit has obtained funding to continue and expand existing services to target the indigent behavioral health community.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2006

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  • Published monthly, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to providing health professionals with the information they need to promote the quality and safety of health care. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety invites original manuscripts on the development, adaptation, and/or implementation of innovative thinking, strategies, and practices in improving quality and safety in health care. Case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or new applications of methodologies, research studies on the effectiveness of improvement interventions, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.

    Also known as Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement and Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Safety
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