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Recovery Coaches to Help Opioid Addicted Patients at Hartford Hospital Connect to Treatment

March 27, 2018

With the continued rise in opioid related deaths in Connecticut, Hartford Hospital and the Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network (BHN) are taking action to help those battling addiction find recovery.

Hartford Hospital recently started making recovery coaches available seven days a week in its emergency department to help patients connect with services after they receive care in the ED. The successful program, a partnership with Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR), the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) and the BHN, is already in place at Backus Hospital, MidState Medical Center and Windham Hospital.

Recovery coaches work directly with patients after they receive emergency care for a substance use disorder, such as opioid addiction, or if they come in seeking treatment for a substance use disorder. They do everything from providing support in the ED to driving patients to their appointments. Recovery coaches have “lived experience” with substance abuse, which helps build trust with patients.

Through February, coaches in emergency departments have helped link 920 of 947 (97 percent) patients to care, which includes detox, community support, inpatient, outpatient, intensive outpatient and medication-assisted treatment.

“If a person isn’t interested in getting into treatment at that time, the recovery coach will give them their business card and will call the next day if the person is willing.  And they’ll call for days, if the patient is willing to let them, to offer support and to try to get them into treatment,” said Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network President Pat Rehmer.  “We realize that people don’t have to be jumping for joy to come into a treatment program; sometimes they’re still ambivalent. The onus is now on us to get them in the door and keep them engaged. The days of individuals ‘hitting rock bottom’ or ‘proving that they are motivated’ are really over. We need to design our programs to engage the individual.”

“Opioid addiction has truly become a health crisis in our state, particularly in the communities Hartford Hospital serves,” said Hartford Hospital President Bimal Patel. “Immediately connecting patients to treatment and services when they are at their most vulnerable is essential to long term recovery. The recovery coach program is a perfect example of collaboration with our community partners and coordination across Hartford HealthCare to address a major population health issue and give patients the care they need and deserve.”

For more information or to seek help for treatment to opioid addiction, visit here.