BRYAN, Texas — Most of us know by now that the main advice given by health professionals is to practice social distancing.
How are those who rely on in-person social interaction handling this change?
“Unfortunately, addiction does not stop during any kind of pandemic or any kind of crisis situation and it’s very important for patients to have access to that treatment,” said Don Schroder, the Executive Regional Director for Symetria Recovery.
Both are recovery centers for those working through addiction.
“We are an essential medical service, so we are open and available to patients as much and as frequently as they need,” Schroder said.
Soltis noted, “people that have substance use disorder have lower immune systems as it is, so we need to continue treating the substance use disorder to get them more healthy also.”
With the social distancing guidelines given by local health districts and the CDC, recovery services are having to make the similar changes.
“At this point, only clients and staff can enter the building. Our groups have been under 10 people and to where they’re sitting 6 feet apart,”Soltis said.
Schroder said, “patients cannot come in together into the clinic. So we providing services one at a time. They’re still getting the same services. In addition, we’ve taken our counseling services and most of those have been placed online, meeting with patients on a daily basis with our counselors here at the clinic seeing patients in their home through a telemedicine platform.”
There have also been telephone screenings, and people with symptoms are of course told not to come in at all.
Group therapy, a service vital to those in recovery, is also working towards Telehealth.
“It looks just like this, it has a feel that you’re in the clinic together but you’re several miles apart. It’s very effective. The patients are participating in it, willingly and looking forward to it every day.”
BVCASA is working remotely with individual clients but are waiting on approval from the HHSC to use telemedicine for group therapy.
“We want to do the best we can and not interrupt the clients treatment and also for the client to see their counselor for the counselor to see their client and they’ve already built that relationship,” Stolis said.
And both BVCASA and Symetria want people who need help but haven't reached out to know, they are still available to new clients.
“We’re still here, and we’re gonna continue to be here, and we’re gonna take care of our clients to the best of our ability,” said Stolis.