What does Continuum of Care mean?

Continuum of Care is a concept involving guiding and tracking patients over a period of time through a comprehensive array of health services and spanning all levels and intensity of care. Depending on the need, Continuum of Care can be from birth to end of life for all levels and stages of care. It also includes both the services and the mechanisms of the integration of care.

Services can be broken down into the basic 7 categories which are:

  1. Extended care
  2. Hospital care
  3. Ambulatory care
  4. Home care
  5. Outreach
  6. Wellness
  7. Housing

The mechanisms can be broken down into 4 basic categories:

  1. Planning and management
  2. Care coordinatioN
  3. Case-based financing
  4. Integrated information systems

The term “Continuum of Care” can also be described as getting from illness to wellness. Continuum is defined as the gradual transition from condition to condition, without any abrupt changes. When clinicians use this term, they are recommending that the treatment should include a gradual transitioning of the physiological, psychological, and spiritual states from an unhealthy chemical dependency to a healthy state.

How is Continuum of Care used with treating addiction?

Addiction is not as simple as an acute illness or a broken bone. A chemical dependency is defined as a chronic and progressive disease. This means that it can be stopped or halted, but it can never be cured. It also means that if left untreated, it gets more serious and can eventually lead to death.

It can be a challenge to convince someone we love that they are a person with substance use disorder, or come to the realization ourselves, but it can be even harder to convince someone that the treatment can go on for a very long time. One of the more difficult tasks of a chemical dependency counselor is convincing a patient of their need for ongoing care once primary treatment is done.

The patient enters what is referred to as “a treatment system” at the level appropriate to their needs. This level of care step-up to be more intense or downgraded to less intense depending on the treatment needs. An effective Continuum of Care involves the philosophy that a patient can transfer across levels of care.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), has the levels of care are broken down into levels:

Level 0.5: Early interventions services
Level 1: Services for Outpatients
Level 2: Partial hospitalization / Intensive outpatient (This level can be broken down into 2.1 and 2.5)
Level 3: Residential / Inpatient Services. (This level can be subdvided into 3.1 , 3.3., 3.5, and 3.7)
Level 4: Is an intensive medically managed inpatient service

It’s important to keep in mind that every program varies in their philosophies, services, settings, and client characteristics as they can be tailored and personalized. For example: A rural setting treating females for alcohol addiction would be different than a major city treating males dependent on stimulants. It’s important to decide what is right for you through an assessment and being placed with your specific needs.

Why is Continuum of Care important?

Addiction can be treated, but real recovery is a lifelong process. In the first year, as many as 85% (by some estimates) of patients will experience a relapse after they seek treatments for alcohol and drug addiction. This is a clear reason why Continuum of Care and long term aftercare programs are paramount in a life of sobriety.

These programs create a greater chance of success in the long term when it comes to preventing relapses. Continuum of Care can often be a the patient’s best chance for their long term recovery. The main goal of relapse prevention is the teaching of how to manage triggers. These triggers can include very common things like the time of day, relationships, work, holidays, finances, favorite bars, or other things that may be stressful and remind a person of using. With successful prevention of relapse, the patient can learn these valuable life coaching skills like the identification and management of these triggers.

Inpatient programs are a very efficient path to sobriety when you have the struggles of addiction. The habitation of a trigger and temptation-free environment encourages sobriety. Not every individual after completing an inpatient program is ready to go back into regular life. Many will need a transitional environment, such as a temporary home for continued support and treatment. They have many rules and guidelines in place to keep people living there safe and sober.

About Cliffside Malibu

Cliffside Malibu engages individuals in a life free of chemical dependency, negative thought patterns and behaviors and facilitates a renewed passion for a thriving life in treatment and beyond. Our Continuum of Care promise means we are with you every step of the way, even after initial treatment, with no loss of continuity. We pride ourselves on this approach, ensuring that the chance of your life becoming free of chemical dependency is far greater.

Our clinical framework embodies the Transtheoretical Model, which identifies behavior change on a continuum otherwise known as the Stages of Change. Our goal is to move individuals through their treatment by assessing their readiness for change and formulating stage-matched interventions in order to move them through their respective stage. After carefully accessing each individual, they are matched with one of the five stages: Pre-Contemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action and Maintenance. An individualized treatment plan is created based on their current stage of change.

It is the policy of Cliffside Malibu to ensure that all individuals who present with chemical dependency and/or mental health issues are assessed for the appropriate level of care. We strive to provide continuum of care including medically supervised detox, residential treatment, day treatment and outpatient services. Services are provided to individuals with a primary diagnosis of substance abuse and/or alcohol addiction. Individuals seeking treatment are assessed by qualified staff to ensure program criteria are met and that each individual admitted is placed in the appropriate level of care for treatment. The program is designed and structured for individuals who are in need of a supportive environment in order to maintain Sobriety.