To say the world of substance abuse and addiction recovery services is challenging is an understatement. Finding tools to help clients have a better overall experience is an ongoing quest. I firmly believe that creating a program that uses an effective treatment approach includes paying attention to details that might not seem like a big deal, but they are.
Sleep is one example of this. For clients in the detox phase of an addiction recovery program, sleep is both necessary and fleeting. However, we are required to monitor vital statistics which traditionally required waking someone to take the measurements. I believed there had to be a better way to fulfill the need without having to disturb people who desperately need rest. As it turns out, there is a superior solution.
Elevate Addiction Services uses a wearable sensor platform by Vivalink at our residential inpatient treatment centers in Santa Cruz County and South Lake Tahoe as part of the first step in our accredited drug and alcohol rehabilitation program: the inpatient detox portion of the program. Detox requires 24/7 monitoring, including multiple vital checks per day by staff to monitor a client’s heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen levels and other key vitals overnight. Using the wearable sensors and platform, we can automatically monitor vitals without disrupting clients’ sleep.
This process is also easier for our staff since we can use an intuitive central program to obtain the information, eliminating the need to wake people – which we never want to do if they really need the rest. We often have up to 12 patients in the detox portion of the program in one location. The biometrics platform automatically records the real-time and retrospective data and presents it in an easily digestible format. The full workflow is automated, which helps reduce the burden on staff.
People in detox are usually in the worst physical and mental shape of their lives. We can monitor these data points without being intrusive while helping reduce their risk of an undetected physical issue. When we first implemented the technology two years ago, we also used the EKG sensors but realized that wasn’t a significant issue for our clients, so we no longer routinely use that aspect of the program. However, use of the blood pressure and oxygen sensors is an essential part of the detox process for our clients. The wearable blood pressure cuff enables multiple systolic and diastolic measurements in a unibody design with no tubes or other accessories. The wearable Sp02 monitor provides continuous tracking of a patient’s oxygen saturation levels without the client or one of our staff members manually initiating a reading.
Part of our philosophy is providing a holistic approach to treatment and recovery. That includes providing upgraded services and technology which always improving how we treat people. While it’s difficult to quantify the full value of using the remote monitoring technology, our clients are safe and comfortable, and our staff able to easily keep an eye on the vitals. That’s invaluable in providing superior care while staying mindful of the critical need for rest to aid in recuperation.
For the addiction recovery industry to continue moving forward to better serve our clients, we have to be open to new technologies to improve the services we provide and improve the overall experience for those going through the recovery process. Something as seemingly “mundane” as sleeping is a critical component of healing and recuperation for those trying to overcome an addiction. Using technology to provide better care in a less stressful environment helps lead to