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Posted on 15th May 2020

Blackpool-based Horizon service adapts to life under lockdown

As everyone continues to get to grips with lockdown, our Blackpool-based Horizon service is adapting the way it delivers support to some of the communities most vulnerable.

Change on the Horizon?

Horizon deliver a range of alcohol, drug and sexual health services throughout Blackpool, providing free confidential advice to residents. By adapting how they deliver support, Horizon are able to continue delivering services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

As isolation, anxiety and boredom mount under lockdown, the support offered by Horizon becomes ever more vital. For some, the strains of the outbreak may instigate or exacerbate dependency issues. According to research from Alcohol Change, 1 in 5 UK residents have reported an increase in alcohol consumption following lockdown. To combat this surge, Horizon has introduced a Rapid Assessment Protocol to help them deliver alcohol support services faster. This allows Horizon to quickly identify at-risk individuals in temporary accommodation and prioritise homeless residents for in-patient detox services.

With many of Horizon’s addiction treatments reliant on face to face or group therapies, maintaining support has meant embracing technology wherever possible. While digital interaction is not a like for like substitute, it does allow staff to keep in touch with clients and maintain the regular contact that is so crucial to successfully overcome addiction.

For people undergoing opiate substitution treatment, Horizon have been able to safely continue treatment while maintaining self-isolation and social distancing. For most, this has meant some minor adjustments to their prescriptions allowing for fewer pickups and less supervision. To ensure client safety, all adjustments have been made on an individual basis with full support from the Horizon team.

To keep clients safe, Horizon has increased provision of emergency medication naloxone and provide harm reduction advice wherever possible. Horizon is delivering needle exchange support for those in temporary accommodation, ensuring people still have access to clean equipment.

How have things changed at Delphi?

Horizon isn’t the only service adapting and expanding during the pandemic. Here at Delphi, we recently introduced the first Private Community Detox service in Lancashire. The new service, provided from our Lancaster-based detox centre Pavilion, will provide flexible home-based detox and drop-in support for those looking to overcome alcohol dependency.

Our residential detox service has been largely maintained, albeit with some essential adjustments. We’ve managed to free up two rooms to provide isolation spaces for anyone who displays COVID-19 symptoms. To guard against infection, new patients are now screened before admission and non-essential visits have been cancelled. While this means a ban on relatives and certain visiting therapies, such as our music therapy sessions, these sacrifices are made with the hope of keeping infection at bay.

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