In some cases, for people with Substance Use Disorder (SUD), the step of physically getting to a recovery facility can be an issue because they simply don’t have a reliable way to get there. Maybe they don’t have a car, or a person who will drive them there, or public transportation is not an option or too difficult a journey. Lack of transportation should not be a barrier to treatment, and recovery facilities that recognize this provide transportation services to their patients.
“Anytime there is a patient that needs to get to a group or receive a dosage and they have no way of getting there, they can sign up,” says Randy Watz, Clinical Transport Manager for Symetria Recovery. “Then, we fit them into the schedule and we give them a set time for when we get there. And, we’ll pick them up within a 30-mile radius from our location.”
Driving patients is an important job with many responsibilities. As a result, drivers are screened to make sure they have personalities that will make patients feel safe and comfortable. They are also trained to:
- respect and protect a patient’s privacy
- communicate comfortably with their passengers
- maintain proper personal boundaries
- administer Narcan in case of a patient overdose
- administer first aid, including CPR
Of course, the Covid-19 pandemic presents its own challenges. “What we try to do mostly now is one patient in the van at a time and in no case do we have three in the van at one time, including the driver, Watz said. “Everyone must wear masks and the van is sprayed down after each ride, and at the end of the day.”
When it comes to opioid, heroin and alcohol addiction and use recovery, transportation to and from a facility is more than just a ride. It’s the first and last touchpoint of the patient’s recovery experience for that day.
“We’re not just providing a ride, we’re providing you a chance for recovery,” Watz explained. “We’re bringing you to a place where there are doctors, nurses, counselors and groups to help you. So, part of our job is to make you feel comfortable in your experience.”