Friday, June 10, 2011

Treatment Solutions Network Articles: Privacy in Treatment

Treatment Solutions Network Articles: Privacy in Treatment

Link to Treatment Solutions Network Drug Treatment and Recovery Articles

Privacy in Treatment

Posted: 10 Jun 2011 11:10 AM PDT

Patients’ privacy rights are a hot topic these days, and the government and other agencies have gone to great lengths to make sure everyone’s privacy is respected. There are now the HIPAA forms and the doctor and hospital paperwork that ensure patients’ privacy. Privacy is also an important issue when it comes to substance abuse treatment.

Reasons for Secrecy

Maintaining a comfortable level of privacy is important when it comes to addiction treatment. Many people look for a treatment facility that can guarantee confidentiality.

There are many reasons why someone wants to keep their addiction and treatment confidential. Someone’s job might be in jeopardy if their employer or co-workers find out about their addiction. Other people might face problems at school or with a coach or supervisor if word gets out. Most people, however, simply do not want the social repercussions that come with admitting to a drug or alcohol problem. They don’t want neighbors, co-workers, or even friends and family to know about their problem or that it is serious enough to require treatment.

That’s why many treatment facilities pride themselves on complete confidentiality. These facilities have created ways to help patients keep their treatment private. Private transportation, flexible schedules, coordination of care at a single facility, and confidential paperwork and communication are all ways that an addiction patient’s privacy can be maintained.

Being Open and Honest

While complete privacy is best in some situations and can be acquired for any patient, there are times when someone with a drug or alcohol problem should consider coming out into the open with their struggle. The whole town doesn’t need to know, nor do all of your co-workers or your friends on Facebook, but confiding in an understanding friend or loved one does have its benefits. A loved one can offer support and encouragement both during treatment and afterwards. This can be very helpful for when the patient goes back home after treatment. If the whole addiction and recovery process has been a secret all along, it will be more difficult to go back to regular life and try to stay sober. On the other hand, if a person coming home from treatment has close friends and family waiting to encourage and help them with their task of sobriety, the person will be more likely to succeed.

Of course, a patient should be able to decide who should know about their substance abuse. A treatment professional can help the patient make the right choice when it comes to what loved ones to confide in. If it is just a feeling of shame that the patient is trying to avoid, maybe keeping their addiction a secret isn’t that healthy. It may be necessary to deal with embarrassment for the time being in order to have the support of loved ones and the best chance at a lifetime of sobriety.


HIPAA Privacy Rule Resources

Patient Confidentiality

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