By Louis C. Kirby, MD
Re-entering the community and staying sober following inpatient rehabilitation for substance abuse is difficult. This stage of the recovery process “marks the beginning of a new state of risk related to continuing biobehavioral vulnerability and environmental exposures1.” During this period, it’s particularly important for patients to avoid negative influences, such as going to old hangouts, socializing with their using friends and falling into prior patterns of behavior that pull the patient back into using. Success factors for re-integration include an ongoing support network and adopting productive routines such as a steady job2. Recovery is clearly linked to the patient’s adoption of “adult responsibilities and the emergence of skills to sustain them1”.
House of Hope, a provider of residential and outpatient treatment for people who suffer with substance abuse and mental illness, has integrated a novel application of GPS and cellular technology during this critical transition period to help monitor and influence positive behaviors as their patients transition into a community setting.
Working with the House of Hope team, AlertGPS customized their award winning safety platform so that it allows House of Hope counselors to proactively monitor key aspects of their patients’ activities, like getting to work on time, while providing a critical communications link to House of Hope staff.
The AlertGPS system includes a personal safety device that integrates cellular and GPS technology. Clients wear this discreet, beeper-sized device on their waistband or a lanyard. When the patient presses the single button, the device dials a preprogrammed number, which calls the switchboard at House of Hope. They have personnel available to assist with needed services such as transportation or access to a counselor. The switchboard can also call the device to speak with the patient.
The GPS technology built into the device relays the patient’s location to the AlertGPS cloud-based portal, providing secure, real-time monitoring of their physical location. Using the portal, House of Hope counselors can stay abreast of their patient’s location when they are outside the rehab facility. Zones can be optionally set up around a patient’s workplace to trigger a notification to the House of Hope staff when the patient arrives and departs work. These features keep the patient connected and accountable during the recovery process and encourage responsible behaviors. In addition, the combined GPS location and quick one-button calling feature aids in the patient’s safety should they become injured or feel threatened or overwhelmed, serving as a critical lifeline in an emergency.
Because the AlertGPS personal safety device is designed to only call one pre-programmed phone number and does not operate like a regular cell phone, it avoids introducing temptations associated with internet access or reestablishing communications with the patient’s pre-treatment social network.
To date, House of Hope leadership is delighted with the AlertGPS system and are pleased to have another tool that aids in their clients’ recovery. AlertGPS is pleased to support the House of Hope as they work to combat the corrosive effects of addiction in the lives of their patients.
AlertGPS (www.alertGPS.com) is a leading innovator in connected enterprise safety technology. Our solution offers the quickest way to locate, communicate and get help to mobile workers. AlertGPS helps organizations protect their mobile workforce and mitigate business and personnel risks associated with working alone or in uncontrolled environments. We are now bringing our award-winning safety solutions to outpatient and residential treatment centers and aftercare service providers.
House of Hope is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to the treatment and support of those with substance abuse and co-occurring mental health disorders. Since 1969, House of Hope/Stepping Stones has provided hope and healing to more than 500 men and women annually, in both a residential and outpatient setting.
- Dennis, M., & Scott, C. K. (2007). Managing addiction as a chronic condition. Addiction science & clinical practice, 4(1), 45-55.
- Best, D., Lubman, D., Australian Family Physician Vol. 41, No. 8, august 2012
Louis Kirby, MD