National Rehabilitation Centre adds new scientific study to list of research achievements

ABU DHABI, A scientific study by the National Rehabilitation Centre (NRC) has found that family engagement can triple the rate of patient retention and completion in opioid-assisted treatment programmes.

The findings of the comprehensive study titled “The impact of family engagement in opioid assisted treatment: Results from a clinical controlled trial” were recently published in the International Journal of Social Psychiatry, which is one of the most prestigious scientific journals in the world.

Throughout the 16-week study, data was compiled from 141 patients receiving non-residential treatment for opioid use disorder at NRC’s outpatient clinics to assess the link between family engagement and the treatment completion rate.

The study followed a random sampling approach, which is the most widely acknowledged scientific method. The results indicate that patient retention can increase threefold if family members participate in the treatment process. Family participation was defined by the attendance of family members in family sessions at treatment facilities. Furthermore, family members who expressed empathy towards the patient’s condition and the challenges they experience during the recovery process were also deemed as participants.

The study also highlighted the importance of developing and adopting multicomponent treatment programmes that use virtual communication technologies. The effectiveness of these technologies as a means of providing virtual therapy and counselling sessions came to light during the COVID-19 pandemic, and as a result, these technologies have developed exponentially ever since.

The study has also underlined some of the most common barriers that prevent the families of patients from participating in addiction treatment. The reasons ranged from social stigma regarding addiction to logistical obstacles related to appointment scheduling and transportation. In addition, a sense of frustration at the challenges of addiction within a family or household was also cited as a limitation. Moreover, some people also held the belief that treatment was a personal and confidential matter.

Even though there has been a marked transition to virtual counselling sessions, the National Rehabilitation Centre has made significant strides to ensure that its outpatient clinics continue to offer a distinct range of solutions. Some of these include family intervention programmes that engage family members in different stages of treatment. These programmes aim to offer strict confidentiality that respects the patient’s right to privacy.

The design, preparation and implementation of the study was the responsibility of 11 doctors and addiction specialists. This core team was led by Dr. Hamad Abdullah Al-Ghafri, Director-General of the National Rehabilitation Centre.

Speaking about the successful completion of the study, Dr Al-Ghafri said, “At NRC, we have state-of-the-art infrastructure and qualified specialists to deliver effective addiction treatment. This has enabled NRC to develop comprehensive and specialised treatment programmes that are based on scientific research and the latest innovations. These programmes ensure more successful outcomes in addiction treatment.”

Al-Ghafri added, “This new study complements existing scientific research completed by NRC. It is a broader aim of the NRC to witness the international adoption of these studies to advance addiction treatment sciences throughout the world. The outcomes of the study are considered to be the first quantitative indication of the benefits gained through family engagement in addiction treatment.”

“While we cannot overlook the social limitations that have always accompanied addiction treatment,” Al-Ghafri added. “Our goal today is to resolve these issues by providing concrete scientific evidence that addiction disease is accompanied by multiple challenges. And, that these challenges can be both treated and prevented through the development of innovative solutions. We must also underline the important psychological support role that a patient’s family can play in therapy interventions.”

The NRC’s clinical studies are subject to the highest standards of global scientific research and governance practices.


Source: Emirates News Agency

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