Understanding and Implementing the Recovery Coach Role

by | Apr 08, 2017

The relatively new role of “recovery coach” in primary care will be explored in an interactive format during a Sunday session designed to help attendees envision the position in their own practice.

Through “Integrating Recovery Coaches into General Medical Settings,” which takes place from 8:30 to 10:00 am in Grand Salon D on the First Level, attendees will be able to learn the basics of the role and how they can tailor it to fit their primary care setting.

“The goal of the session is to get participants to start thinking critically about what it would be like to incorporate a recovery coach into their own practice, and some of the challenges that might arise,” said Helen Jack, BA, a medical student at Harvard Medical School.

The role is an important one. Only 10 percent of people with substance use disorder (SUD) receive treatment, partially because of poor access to specialty SUD care and limited management within primary care. Recovery coaches — peers sharing the lived experience of addiction and recovery — are increasingly being integrated into primary care and can serve as a cost-effective treatment component.

Session organizers are using an interactive case study format to better help attendees fully understand the depth and complexities of the recovery coach role, Jack said. She hopes attendees will be able to begin designing a recovery coach job description for their own practice.

“We don’t just want to lecture to them about what worked at Mass General, but we want to have them think through in groups how they might apply it to their own work,” she said. “Then we’ll share parts of our experience about how through both a qualitative study and the experience of designing a recovery coach program we’ve been able to help develop and grow a peer support program to support patients within primary care.”

Sarah Wakeman, MD, FASAM, assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, said the session is timely because the role is growing in popularity nationwide.

“Recovery coaching and the involvement of peers integrated into medical teams is something that has caught the attention of programs, of practitioners, and insurance companies across the country, yet this is a very new model that hasn’t been well studied and often what people even mean by the term ‘recovery coaching’ varies from setting to setting,” Dr. Wakeman said. “I think beginning to think from a research perspective and also from a systems perspective about how to define this role and how to use it in the way that most benefits patients and benefits clinical care is really important.”

Participants will create their own recovery coach job description, prepare strategies for hiring and interviews, and discuss how to respond to challenging situations that arise with integrating the position, including team hierarchy or recurrence of coach substance use.

“I hope that people who attend will walk away with a better sense of what recovery coaches do, but also what they don’t do, what the limitations of the role are,” Jack said, “I also hope that they’ll leave able to draw on existing evidence and resources on recovery coaches and with concrete ideas about how this role might be incorporated into their practice.”

Saturday, April 8, 2017 originally posted at http://www.asam.org/education/live-online-cme/the-asam-annual-conference/2017-conference-daily/conference-daily-april-9-2017/2017/04/09/understanding-and-implementing-the-recovery-coach-role

About XIX

XIX Recovery Support Services serves to increase the understanding of substance abuse, connect to treatment/recovery resources and reduce the stigma of addiction.

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