Portage’s therapeutic community has evolved over the years, from its original approach based on the Daytop model and adapted to the reality of the regions where Portage provides services, to a modern-day approach that has been enriched to continuously incorporate best practices in addiction treatment. As Portage’s model has evolved, so has its success indicators. In 2009, Portage established the Continuing Care Program to encourage the success of its participants. Whereas in the past, a client who left Portage without completing all five phases of rehabilitation treatment was considered to have failed the program, with the Continuing Care Program, Portage can now continue to support these people and encourage them to persist on their path to sobriety.
Regardless of their reasons, clients who decide to leave residential treatment against advice are more vulnerable to relapse and need continued support. Whether they have been in treatment for two days or two months, these clients are transferred to the Continuing Care Program, in which the intensity of their treatment is reduced. They will receive periodic telephone calls from a Portage staff member, which are tailored to the client’s particular needs. When necessary, individual meetings are arranged. Clients are supported in Continuing Care for a period of two years, and of course, they are always welcomed back to residential treatment at any time, if they choose.
Over the years, Portage has observed that a number of people need more than one round of treatment to achieve the objectives necessary to for their rehabilitation. According to François Bourdon, director of the Portage centre in Prévost, Québec, forty percent of the adolescents who left the program over the past two years have returned to finish their treatment. “These are young people who we used to lose completely before the Continuing Care Program was established.”
Thanks to the program, clients who show resistance to treatment can stay connected to Portage to continue to nurture the advances that have been made while in treatment. Eventually, they can return to residential therapy at Portage or elsewhere, if necessary. The Continuing Care Program is a way to exit, but not totally drop out of the treatment process.
“Even if the individual is using drugs, we stay connected; we don’t close the door,” explains François Bourdon.
The program has been extremely well received by clients and their families. For family members who had come knocking on Portage’s door to save their loved one from the nightmare of drug addiction, the program is a godsend. Though their loved one was not able to participate fully in residential treatment at that time, he or she can still benefit from Portage’s support.
Portage is pleased to be able to offer this adapted service to its clients.