Professionals’ Views on Challenges in Inpatient Substance Abuse Treatment during COVID-19 Pandemic in Finland

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Abstract

The pandemic caused by COVID-19 (an acute respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus) has had harmful effects on people in need of special support. People with problematic substance use are recognized as such a group. The pandemic has raised the need for sufficient treatment and services during these unpredictable conditions. At the same time, it poses severe challenges to their production and provision. The purpose of the study was to use content analysis to qualitatively examine Finnish professionals’ (N = 22) views on (1) the challenges posed by COVID-19 in working in inpatient substance abuse treatment, (2) how these challenges have been addressed, and (3) what the consequences of the challenges and the solutions to them are. The findings confirmed that COVID-19 has caused drastic changes in the organization of treatment and daily practices. Professionals experience challenges in preventing infection from spreading into and within treatment units. They also describe difficulties in applying social distancing in treatment that is based on therapeutic communities. The pandemic has also challenged communication and co-worker support among professionals. These challenges have led to practical solutions that, in turn, have their own consequences for treatment practices. We conclude that the quality of treatment has to some extent been impaired because of the pandemic.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalChallenges
Volume13
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • OVID-19; inpatient; substance abuse; treatment; professional; Finland

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

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