Sierra Tucson believes that residential treatment is the beginning—not the end—of the recovery process for individuals. Because of this, there is a strong belief and focus on continuing care during the treatment process.
Preparation for continuing care begins upon admission in the assessment phase of treatment and continues until discharge, at which time the patient has a clearly defined, individualized written plan for ongoing recovery.
The entire treatment team is responsible for the relapse prevention and continuing care planning, with team members having specialized focus. Patients attend Relapse Prevention Groups regularly, with specific meetings dedicated to continuing care each week. This prompts patients to delve into the meaning and importance of continuing care and think about what their discharge plan might look like. They learn about the various options available, including resources at home, extended care, transitional living, and intensive outpatient programs. Patients then begin to outline individual needs and goals that integrate 12-Step meetings and other sources for continued recovery in family/primary relationships, spirituality, social/recreational, medical/physical/fitness/nutrition, vocational/educational, financial, or legal areas.
The unit therapist works with the patient weekly on an individual basis to better hone and define the patient’s understanding of his/her disease process, coping skills, and support systems necessary for prevention of relapse. With input from the patient’s referring professional, family, and the Sierra Tucson treatment team, the patient is given recommendations for continuing care needs post-hospitalization. Patients who discharge on medications will have a follow-up appointment with a psychiatrist for continued evaluation. Patients will make appointments for follow-up care before discharge, in order to ensure continuity of care.
During treatment, a Discharge Group assists patients in completing their continuing care plan, and a Going Home Group provides support and strength for those discharging in the immediate future. The continuing care coordinator and the alumni coordinator ensure that each individual is aware of the many resources available for sustained recovery. Alumni contacts are given, where applicable, to ease the transition for patients returning to their home environment.
Sierra Tucson considers the Continuing Care Plan to be one of the most important tools that a patient takes with him/her. Through collaboration of the patient, the treatment team, the referring professional, and family members, each individual leaves treatment with a solid plan for continued success on the path to recovery.
The alumni coordinator, with each patient’s consent, follows up with a telephone call or email at 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, and 1 year to provide support and resources. To further encourage our alumni, Sierra Tucson helps facilitate alumni support groups and offers workshops, alumni dinners, and an annual Alumni Reunion. Sierra Tucson also provides a biweekly Alumni eNews called Beyond the Miracle and publishes the Afterwords Alumni Newsletter three times per year to provide continued strength and hope.