Patient, Program, and System Barriers and Facilitators to Detoxification Services in the U.S. Veterans Health Administration: A Qualitative Study of Provider Perspectives.Subst Use Misuse. 2016 08 23; 51(10):1330-41.SU
Because substance use disorder (SUD) treatment is expanding, and detoxification (detox) is often the entry point to SUD treatment, it is critical to provide ready access to detox services.
The purpose of the current study was to examine patient, program, and system barriers or facilitators to detox access within an integrated health care system with variable rates of detox utilization across facilities.
Inpatient and outpatient providers from 31 different U.S. Veterans Health Administration detox programs were interviewed.
Qualitative analyses identified six facilitators and 11 barriers to detox access. Facilitators included program staff and program characteristics such as encouragement and immediate access, as well as systemic cooperation and patient circumstances. Barriers to detox included programmatic and systemic problems, including lack of available detox services, program rules or admission requirements, funding shortages, stigma related to a SUD diagnosis or receiving detox services, and a deficiency of education and training. Other major barriers pertained to patients' lack of motivation and competing responsibilities.
To improve detox access, health care settings should consider enhancing supportive relationships by emphasizing outreach, engagement, and rapport-building with patients, improving systemic communication and teamwork, educating patients on available detox services and the detox process, and addressing patient centered barriers such as resistance to detox or competing responsibilities. In addition, programs should consider open-door and immediate-admission policies. These approaches may improve detox access, which is important for increasing the likelihood of transitioning patients to SUD treatment, thus improving outcomes and reducing utilization of high-cost services.