Treatment Professional

How to Assess the Right Level of Care for Your Clients

How to Assess the Right Level of Care for Your Clients

Deciding on an appropriate level of care for your clients involves considering many different factors, including addiction severity.

When deciding on an appropriate level of care for your clients, it is important to consider every option available. While many of us think of drug rehabilitation programs in a traditional inpatient residential model, this is not always the best option for every client.

In addition to inpatient treatment, partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs are both routes to consider which may be more beneficial given your client's life circumstances and treatment history. In some cases, even weekly therapy and support groups might be sufficient. Here are some factors to consider when deciding which treatment option is best.

The Severity of Addiction

In general, the more severe your client's addiction, the more intense treatment they’ll need. Severity consists of several metrics including:

  • Duration of use

  • Frequency of use

  • Amount used

  • Route of administration

  • Drug of choice

A client who occasionally uses prescription opioids once a month by taking pills not prescribed to them might need different treatment than a person who uses heroin intravenously on a daily basis. In the first case, withdrawal symptoms would be unlikely, and the level of dependence is low.

In the second case, a period of detox would be required, and medically assisted treatment might be indicated, followed by a long-term residential environment.

Treatment History

Deciding when and where to refer a client can be a tricky decision. It is important to consider your client's treatment history when deciding where to guide them next. If your client has already completed a 28-day inpatient program and is looking to step down into something less intense, a partial hospitalization program at a drug rehab might be indicated.

If your client has achieved long-term sobriety in the past and has a slip where they used their drug of choice on one occasion, but quickly returned to sobriety, perhaps an intensive outpatient program would be indicated.

Matching the Facility to the Client

Every treatment center is unique. Their approach to recovery, the type of programs offered, and the available amenities all factor into your client's decision to attend. Simple logistics like available starting dates and location are also things that must be considered when placing your client in a facility's care.

Ask yourself questions such as:

  • Does my client have access to reliable transportation?

  • Does the rehab facility I'm recommending work with my client's insurance?

  • Does the program work with their current schedule?

All of these answers will influence your decision on what type of program to select for your client. While residential inpatient might be top of mind when thinking of treatment, if your client has no way of getting to the facility or paying for their stay, that option might need to be eliminated in favor of a lower level of care that operates within your client's means.

External Factors and Life Circumstances

Work and family life are some of the biggest considerations when deciding on a level of treatment for your client. A single mother with no access to reliable child care simply cannot participate in a 28-day residential facility without accommodations. Programs that are specifically geared towards single parents that provide child-care alongside treatment would be options to consider. Clients who take care of elderly parents or relatives with disabilities are also limited by their ability to find substitute caregivers.

While the Family and Medical Leave Act guarantees many professions up to 16 weeks of unpaid leave time to handle medical circumstances, including mental health and substance use, there are simply many occupations that do not have such protections. Clients who own their own business, are self-employed, or work as independent contractors must find programs that work with their current employment.

Clients with mobility issues or disabilities also should receive special considerations when deciding on appropriate care. Residential treatment facilities are not always equipped to accommodate your client's particular needs, so partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, or even remote treatment options might be best.

What Does Your Client Want?

Ultimately, your client is going to be most successful in a treatment program that they are invested in and that they believe is going to work for them. It can be a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts. When your client isn't aligned with their treatment goals, treatment is unlikely to work. Remind your client that they have autonomy over their own mental health treatment plan and act as a partner, not a parent. When people feel like their own judgment is taken into account, they experience more successful outcomes in treatment and beyond. 

In the end, the decision is in your client's hands, and the recommendations you offer are just that: recommendations. The best choice for your client is the one they make themself.

Deciding The Best Option For Your Client Can Be Hard

When your client needs additional treatment, deciding which option is best is complicated. Make sure that you're considering every aspect of their addiction's severity, prior treatment, and life circumstances before making a recommendation. The success of your client depends on their success in the treatment environment.

At The Edge Treatment Center located in Santa Ana, California, we understand the importance of individualized treatment and seek to provide a five-star experience to every client we serve. We offer multiple levels of care, from residential inpatient to partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient.

We provide services to treat both substance use disorders and dual diagnoses in a caring and compassionate environment.

Call The Edge Treatment Center today at (800) 778-1772 to learn more and start your journey on the path to recovery.

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Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

Treatment Professional

February 21, 2022