The Coronavirus outbreak has drawn attention to some of the most vulnerable groups in our society. Those most at risk include the elderly and those with existing health conditions. This, of course, includes people with substance misuse issues. The Phoenix Futures Residential Services are open and continue to accept admissions. Rehabs are already safe places for people with multiple needs and we have reviewed our practices to ensure we adapt to the specific challenges of COVID-19.
Our services provide an ideal environment for those whose risk in the community has been heightened by current events. A recent survey found that 92% of our service users identify as having experienced emotional or mental health issues, with 67% receiving a diagnosis for their condition. 40% of our treatment population are recognised as having a physical disability, and 55% have experienced homelessness, with one in five presenting as no-fixed-abode upon admission to our services.
For those with housing instabilities, mental or physical health conditions and substance misuse issues we can offer a safe environment with all aspects of the care they require accessible under one roof. The residential services offer 24-hour staffing and peer support in a safe, abstinent environment.
Leanne Smullen-Bethell, the Head of House for our National Specialist Family Service, had the following to say when asked about the impact recent events have had within her service on both the staff and those engaged in the programme.
“It has been a really difficult few weeks for everyone. Staff have had to change the way they live their lives and in turn so have our service users.”
“This has all happened at such a pace, it has been hard to absorb. Nevertheless, in true TC style, we have supported each other to carry on through this.”
“As we continue to see what each day brings we are grateful to have each other and a dedicated staff team that continue to arrive at work, not because they have to but because they want to.”
Leanne went on to explain how our programme has adapted to further enhance the safety of those placed with us, and continues to reflect the guidance communicated during the daily government updates.
“We have had to decrease the size of groups and workshops as to promote social distancing, and limit individuals going out of the house for everyone’s safety.”
“One of the saddest things we have had to do is to stop all visitors to the service. This is an incredibly difficult decision when parents are looking forward to seeing children, but we all understand this is about protecting one another and saving lives.”
“The community have been exercising using online resources & DVDs and making the most of the beautiful gardens we are privileged to have here at the Family Service. They have also been able to speak with family and loved ones using video calls which has boosted spirits.”
These innovative responses are not limited to the Family Service, with each of our Glasgow, Wirral and Sheffield sites also adapting to provide the best possible experience for those placed with us. Our large grounds allow us to practice social distancing with ease, whilst enabling residents to exercise frequently without exceeding their allotted daily walk allowance. The benefits of fresh air and exercise on people’s mental health are widely documented, and we are most grateful our facilities are amply equipped to meet this need.
Allocated timings for phone usage have been extended to ensure loved ones are accessible. Increased access to internet messaging services, books, games and use of iPad’s and televisions have also been introduced to maintain a healthy balance between the demanding nature of the programme and the need for some personal time too. In Glasgow, our service has been lent a number of musical instruments by Vox Liminis, and in Sheffield we have extended our Recovery through Nature initiative to provide more regular and engaging content throughout the programme.
Dave Potts, Head of Operations for the Residential services within Phoenix Futures, also had this to say.
“We are, as always, very pleased to be in a position to help those who would be at risk in the community. We continue to deliver a crucial service to those who need support from addiction.”
“During times like these it’s as imperative as ever to ensure individuals who need Residential treatment can still access our services”.
By providing a safe space for these vulnerable people, we are supporting the services in our communities who face an increased demand for their support. Rehab has always provided a comprehensive package of support for the most vulnerable, and continues to be a valuable resource available to help reduce the risk to individuals and their families throughout this difficult period.