The pandemic has changed so many things in our lives. Here at Shanti Recovery and Wellness in Portland, OR we are encouraging our patients to opt for telehealth appointments whenever possible in order to maintain appropriate social distancing and reduce the spread of the coronavirus. The result over the last few months is that most of our patients have transitioned to virtual appointments. This is a big change for us at our clinic and not one that we planned. While we have the capability to deliver effective and professional telehealth services, we had reservations about what it would be like to provide care in this unconventional way.
The good news?
We have really been enjoying telemedicine, especially for evidence-based addiction treatment.
Today, we’ll look at some of the main benefits we’ve seen telemedicine offer to our patients and explain why we think telemedicine for addiction treatment is here to stay, even after COVID-19.
There are a Few Downsides to Telemedicine for Addiction Treatment
As with any healthcare setting, telehealth appointments have their drawbacks. The main ones we’ve encountered at the clinic are:
- Technical difficulties
- Forgotten appointments (although this happens with in person appointments, as well)
- Unpredictable appointment setting (surprise houseguests, childcare, pet and other distractions in the home environment)
- Lack of private (confidential) space in the home environment
Even though there are workarounds for some of the issues, these are real concerns. Stil, in our experience at least, the positives overwhelm the negatives when it comes to telemedicine for addiction treatment.
Telemedicine Helps Remove the Stigma from Addiction Treatment
Walking into an addiction treatment clinic for the first time is a big deal for most people. For some, it’s the first time they’ve identified themselves out loud to another human as a person who suffers from Substance Use Disorder. For others, the occasion represents a willingness to make a second (or third, or fourth…) attempt at recovery.
No matter what the scenario, the physical act of visiting a clinic can be a sticking point for new or returning patients. “What if someone sees my car outside the clinic?,” some might ask themselves. “What if I see someone I know in the waiting room?,” others wonder.
With telemedicine appointments for addiction treatment, there are no waiting rooms are parking lots to worry about. As long as you have a private space in your home, you are guaranteed complete privacy during your appointment.
This is a huge boon for addiction treatment professionals, who struggle against the stigma of Substance Use Disorder everyday. With telemedicine, patients are free to “visit” the clinic without being seen or “outed” to anyone in the community.
Telemedicine for Addiction Treatment is Easier for Parents and those with Mobility Issues
Another wonderful part of telemedicine appointments is that they reduce barriers to treatment for people who – for whatever reason – have trouble keeping appointments at the clinic.
This includes people like:
- Parents with childcare needs
- Full time caregivers
- People with disabilities
- People in mental health crises
- Those who suffer from anxiety disorders such as agoraphobia
- People with non-standard work schedules
- Those without reliable transportation
- People with weakened immune systems
For the people in this list, telemedicine appointments make accessing health care so much easier than traditional appointments.
Sure, we still see no-shows with virtual appointments, but overall? Telemedicine is a boon to addiction treatment providers and people in communities without easy access to traditional health care.
We’d Love to “See” You at Our Addiction Treatment Clinic in Portland
Suffer from Substance Use Disorder? Living in the Portland area? Looking for evidence-based care for your condition?
You’ve come to the right place. Shanti Recovery and Wellness specializes in treating addiction and alcoholism using the latest addiction science available. Give us a call today at (503) 206-8850 and learn more about how we can help you reclaim your life from addiction and start living on your own terms again.