Trying To Prevent Patients Leaving Against Medical Advice (AMA)
It’s safe to say that most, if not all, addiction treatment centers in Florida and throughout the nation deal with patients leaving against medical advice (AMA) at some point. It’s a problem when a patient wants to leave to sign themselves out of treatment prematurely, but certain things can help when it comes to retaining patients. After all, the goal is to help patients successfully complete treatment. In order to achieve this, the number of people leaving AMA must drop. So, many treatment centers in Florida have introduced new treatments and tactics to make clients want to stay.
Why Someone Leaves Against Medical Advice
Leaving AMA is never a good choice. You are in rehab for a reason, and if you choose to leave before proper discharge, you are almost guaranteeing a relapse. If you were to put a stop to treatment for any other condition, like cancer or diabetes, you wouldn’t get the treatment that you need to recover. Addiction is the same. You can’t expect to heal if you cut your treatment short.
There are a number of reasons that people leave treatment AMA. Here are some of the most common:
- They didn’t want to be in rehab in the first place. They may have been convinced to go to rehab by friends and family members, and now that they are there, they want to leave. Unfortunately, these types of patients cannot be forced to stay and have a very high chance of relapse even if they were to complete the program. However, it is possible for people to not want to come into treatment but then arrive and start to work on themselves. Some people are unable to give themselves the time to do this though and opt to leave as soon as they can, which is often AMA.
- They act on their emotions. As people detox, sober up, and face emotions that have been suppressed with drugs and alcohol, emotions can go awry. Despite the efforts of doctors, nurses, and technicians, some people decide to leave and nothing can be done to stop them.
- They can’t stand detoxing. Despite efforts to make detox as comfortable and safe as possible, some people find the idea overwhelming. Once they begin to experience drug withdrawals, they feel the need to leave and get immediate relief – by turning right back to the drugs.
- They don’t like the facility and think rehab is a waste of time. Some people will insist they can sober up on their own, despite previous failed efforts to do so. Chances are they will fail again, and a full stay in rehab is inevitable if they ever want to achieve sobriety.
These situations are hard to diffuse and it’s very difficult for staff to convince people to stay once they have their mind set on leaving. At the same time, medical professionals and specialists are trained to intervene and help patients focus back to why they wanted to get help in the first place.
Addiction Treatment Centers in Florida Handle AMAs As Well As Possible
While it is inevitable for some people to leave AMA, the best and most reputable treatment centers work to prevent this from happening as much as possible. This is done by continuing to come up with new ways to keep patients from leaving before they are ready to do so. The staff is trained to deal with people who are in crisis and want to leave, and luckily many times they are able to convince the patient to stay. And, if a patient seems like they are a high risk of leaving AMA, a staff member might shadow them until everything calms down.
New techniques are always being introduced in treatment as added benefits to inpatient treatment. These are also designed to add more appeal for people to stay. Additionally, each client is given a unique treatment plan to make their stay as appropriate for their needs as possible. When treatment is catered to the individual’s own specific needs and circumstances, they have a better chance at completing the program.
Ideally, there would be no clients leaving AMA, but the most that addiction treatment centers in Florida can do is to treat each patient as a unique case. The goal is to make them see that their treatment stay is worthwhile. Going to rehab saves many lives, so taking the risk to leave AMA is never worth it.
Sometimes patients in rehab fall susceptible to the negative thoughts and patters that characterize their disease of addiction. In other words, they have become so psychologically and physically dependent on substances for so long that these drugs run their lives. It causes them to think that recovery isn’t possible for them when the truth is that recovery is possible – but it does take hard work.
The disease of addiction can be so cunning, baffling, and powerful that the individual reverts back to what they know. This means that even though they may be hopeful coming into treatment, their desire to change may fade and they may push to leave as quickly as possible. The best way to combat this is by getting honest, checking the motivation behind wanting to leave prematurely, and turning to staff for immediate support.
Seeking Help from Lighthouse
Are you struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol? Take the first step by getting help today and making the commitment to remain in treatment long enough to allow yourself to heal from the inside, out. Call Lighthouse today for help at 1-866-308-2090.