Dover hospital forges partnership to provide recovery coaches

DOVER — To help individuals with substance use disorders (SUD) connect to treatment and other recovery support services, Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover is partnering with SOS Recovery Community Organization (SOS RCO) to launch an initiative that pairs people at the hospital with substance use disorders with on-call recovery coaches.

“Wentworth-Douglass Hospital strives to collaborate with community organizations who share our mission of partnering with individuals to attain their highest level of health,” said Kellie Mueller, director of Behavioral Health for Wentworth-Douglass. “We know the magnitude of substance use disorders in our community, state, and nation is large. It will take the work of an entire community to address it. It is important to focus on the growth of resources in our community, and the desire to offer more care and better care. SOS Recovery saw a need and stepped up to meet it. They have created a compassionate, safe, respectful space for individuals seeking recovery at their Recovery Center. Wentworth-Douglass Hospital is happy to partner with SOS Recovery.”

“Launching this program has been a significant undertaking; and we are grateful to everyone at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital. Without the relentless dedication of Kellie Mueller, director of Behavioral Health at Wentworth-Douglass, this would not be possible. Community partners and allies such as WDH are truly providing solutions to solve the addiction crisis, says John Burns, director at SOS RCO. “We are extremely excited to be partnering with Wentworth-Douglass to provide a bridge between the hospital and the recovery support services people with SUDs need to find and maintain recovery.”

According to Burns, upon receiving a call from the hospital via a designated SOS RCO hotline, a recovery coach will be dispatched to the hospital within 60 minutes.

“This is a non-clinical program designed to provide immediate peer-to-peer crisis response coaching to assist individuals in navigating through a crisis and barriers, as well as to assist them in developing linkage to strong SUD treatment supports, mental health supports, peer recovery-based activities and other supports,” says Burns.

While the goal is to eventually offer Recovery Support Services for the hospital seven days a week, 24 hours a day, Burns says this is the initial stage of a three-phase program. During this first phase of the program, SOS RCO recovery coach services will be available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

According to Burns, all SOS Recovery Coaches are required to complete a 30-hour Recovery Coach Academy that was developed by Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery as well as a 16-hour Ethical Considerations for Recovery Coaches. Burns said many SOS recovery coaches are currently either credentialed, or in the process of being credentialed, as Certified Recovery Support Workers in N.H.

“Our approach is to meet individuals where they are at and provide navigation of systems that they are willing and interested in pursuing,” Burns said. “Our long-term goal is to connect individuals to Peer Recovery Support Services outside the hospital for future ongoing coaching and wellness plans.”

Burns says in addition to working with SOS RCO on this initiative, earlier this year Wentworth-Douglass Hospital also provided SOS RCO with an $110,000 grant to assist SOS RCO in its mission to provide safe space and peer-based supports for people in all stages of recovery.

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