RESOURCES

Treatment Outcomes – A Silver Hill Hospital Study

After patients are discharged from a psychiatric hospital one very important question is whether they remain well over time. It is typically very difficult to obtain meaningful information about the answer to this question, largely because there are many obstacles to staying in touch with most of the patients.

However, over the past several years Silver Hill has developed a method that works, using patient “advocates” who stay in regular telephone contact with the patient, a personal connection and a community clinician treating the patient. The purpose of these contacts is to help support patients in their continuing recovery and also obtain information about their success, or lack of it, in remaining drug free. We call this our Recovery Support program.

We began by evaluating the treatment outcome of all patients who were treated in our one month residential programs for abuse of drugs or alcohol. Most of these patients had an additional, co-occurring psychiatric disorder. We wanted to know how many remained free of drugs or alcohol within one year of discharge. Here is what we found.

Over an 18 month period we discharged 645 such patients from our residential programs, of whom 514 (80%) agreed to enter into our Recovery Support program. Of these 514 patients, 152 had dropped out before the end of the year and 362 (70%) finished the 12 months.

We found that 80% of the patients who completed the 12 months of supported follow-up remained alcohol and drug free for at least the last six of those months. In this finding we pooled information from all drugs of abuse and alcohol because we found no statistically significant differences among them. If we assume that all patients who dropped out of the program had relapsed (an unlikely assumption) then still 72% of the patients remained drug free at the end of 12 months.

The important message here is that if you go through at least one month of our residential treatment program and stay in our Recovery Support program for another 12 months after discharge you have an 80% chance of avoiding a relapse onto drugs or alcohol.

These are outstanding results and are substantially higher than the available national figures for addiction recovery. They also represent a benchmark for us against which to measure our own continual efforts to improve clinical outcomes.

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