User involvement is fundamental to our ethos and operations. Barod (formerly known as Drugaid) is a user focused organisation and promotes recovery oriented services.
We view user involvement at 3 distinct levels:
- 1. Involvement in personal care planning
Drugaid is committed to service users being informed so that they can be fully involved in shaping their personal care plans and treatment journey.
It is crucial that when service users first attend our services that they know what is expected of them and what to expect.
A new service user needs to know exactly what is on offer from Barod services. We provide a welcome booklet to everyone at the first appointment. The Welcome book gives an overview of our services, outlines our confidentiality and complaints procedures, provides contact details and more.
Service users are offered an assessment of their needs at the initial appointments. The assessment involves a lot of personal questions (all of which are confidential) and informs a care plan.
Service users are encouraged to shape the care plan and are provided with a copy of it.
The care plan outlines the service user’s goals in treatment. This may be to continue to use substances but in the safest way known according to available evidence, to reduce use of substances (eg. individuals may want to stop the use of one drug but continue to take another or want to use a substance recreationally rather than daily), or stop their use completely and achieve abstinence.
We will work with whatever the service user wants to achieve. Goals are written into the care plan as are milestones along the way that will demonstrate that the service user is going in the right direction and on track to meet their end goal/s.
Barod believes that user involvement starts with the service user knowing what support and treatment options are available to them. Our workers will assist the service user in gaining the knowledge and skills to make informed choices to address the issues that made them access our organisation in the first instance.
We aim for Barod service users to have full involvement in drawing up their personal plan of care and to take ownership of it. The role of the Barod worker is to provide as much information as possible to assist the service user in making informed decisions about their own care and support package.
Care plans are reviewed at least every 12 weeks and are flexible. We recognise that plans may change – this is fine. We want service users to build trusting relationships with their care workers so that they can be fully supported if things do not go to the original plan.
We know that lapse and relapse is common – we can work with that – the last thing we want is for service users to think they have failed and drop out of treatment. We will adapt the care plan to ensure that milestones and goals are achievable.
Barod works to the Community Reinforcement Approach which rewards service users when they reach their self-set milestones in their support/care plan. Rewards are agreed among the service user and case worker.
- 2. User involvement in Barod service provision
We aim to continually our services. At Barod we see our service users as being key to these improvements. We want to know what works and what does not work well in the way we operate. We believe that service users are in the best place to help us get things working right.
We encourage complaints. If service users are not happy with any aspect of our services we want to know. We can only improve if we know the areas we need to work on and what we need to develop.
When we change the way we operate or set up new developments we are committed to asking service users their opinions about the proposed changes. We will set up focus groups or survey service users if we plan changes (eg. we have recently changed our website and users of our services were involved in choosing the layout, the colour schemes and the content).
We support in-house service user groups, including SUDS, or set up groups specific to the task in hand to help us when we develop. We ensure that service users are involved in our recruitment processes for new staff as we believe that service users know what qualities they wish to see in our workforce and can recognise empathy. Barod is keen to see more of this type of involvement and if any service users are interested in help us when we are creating new developments please let your case worker know so that we can call on you for assistance.
We have anonymous feedback boxes at all Barod premises and we ask that our service users use these to give us feedback – good or bad. The comments we receive via the boxes are looked at regularly by senior management. Once we have considered the comments we will provide a response that will be clearly displayed at every office.
Every year we conduct at least one anonymous organisation-wide service user survey (we also conduct ad hoc surveys when we are planning changes that will affect our service users). The outcomes of these will be published on our website from 2016 onwards. Please take the time to fill these in as it is really important to us that we get things right for the people who use our services.
- 3. Strategic user involvement
Whenever possible we support service users to become involved in strategy and planning. The commissioners (funders) of substance misuse services are responsible for co-ordinating substance misuse treatment systems (making sure that services are not duplicated in areas and that a range of services are funded to suit the needs of local populations).
To achieve this effectively commissioners need to know about local substance using trends, gaps in service provision, what works and areas for development, and that national and local strategies fit together effectively. Again service users hold the answers to this.
Please get involved if you are asked to comment on wider issues related to substance use (eg. minimum unit pricing for alcohol, content of needle exchange packs, provision of services for families and carers etc) as your comments and experience can really help when planning substance misuse treatment systems. Let your case worker know if you are interested in the politics of substance misuse and planning across areas or regions.
User groups – we support in-house service user groups such as SUDS and the Swansea group and independent service user groups like AWSUM.
We encourage our service users to attend recovery activities, such as the annual recovery walk held every summer up Pen Y Fan mountain organised by Chooselife in partnership with Barod (formerly known as Drugaid), and the annual Wales-wide National Service User conference.
We also promote peer support:
- AA and NA fellowships
- Hepatitis C
- Recovery Cymru based in Cardiff
- CASM – Carmarthenshire support group for families and carers
- Swansea groups E2E