The concept of recovery monitoring of clients who have completed an acute episode of treatment for substance use disorders has come to be called “recovery “management”. This approach to treatment best represents an evidence-based practice that has shown significant promise for successful patient outcomes.
For most of the historical past in addiction treatment, patients have been treated using an acute care model which is identified as short episodes of treatment followed by limited periods of aftercare services and then discharge. With the scientific understanding of addiction as an irreversible brain disease a great deal of new research has been conducted that indicates the need to re-cast our treatment practices to incorporate a chronic care approach to addiction treatment.
Much of the research around a chronic care model has been focused on extended monitoring of the patient once discharged from the treatment continuum. William White M.A. has written extensively about a Recovery Management Model of treatment versus the acute-care models.
Recovery Monitoring research has produced interesting results:
One of the most important elements of recovery monitoring has shown that post treatment monitoring and support can significantly elevate long term recovery outcomes. The brief period of time that characterizes most addiction treatment conflicts with the research findings on recovery stability. The available data suggest a period of post-stabilization monitoring…for a period of at least five years. Interestingly this is the same period of time for monitoring other chronic diseases such as cancer.
Recovery Management models are distinguished from acute care models by several critical factors: Post treatment monitoring and support is provided to all clients not just those successfully discharged. Responsibility for continued contact resides with the service staff not the client and saturated support is provided in the first 90 days following treatment. Recovery checkups are provided for an extended period of 5 years.
“The core principle to be learned here is that service design should be a dynamic process , so what is learned during the recovery monitoring process becomes more solidified and sustainable with the passage of time.”
Another one of the key research findings has been the cost effective use is that the delivery of recovery checkups over time can be accomplished by para- professionals, trained volunteers and recovery coaches which can save considerable professional staff time and resources. This includes those involved in the delivery of drug court services such as case managers, coordinators, volunteers etc. The purpose of the recovery checkups is to provide support and to re-engage patients who may be in relapse or at risk of relapse and ensure their success in accessing needed treatment services.
While the RMC-i was not originally intended as a research instrument, some portions of the survey however, it can be quantified and are useful to the quality improvement monitoring process of drug courts. Learn More About the RMC-i Tool…
[1 William L. White, MA Senior Research Consultant Chestnut Health Systems; Recovery Management and Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care: Scientific Rationale and Promising Practices, Monograph, Pages 107-111.
Kushner, Jeffrey N. Montana State Wide Drug Court Coordinator and Sumner, Mona L. Principle, Addiction Consulting Group with funding from C-SAT and SAMHSA
Prohaska and DiClementes Six Stages of Change
Miller, Wm. Rollnick, Stephen;  Motivational Interviewing: Helping People Change, Third Edition Guildford Press