Intensive Outpatient Treatment and the Continuum of Care

“Continuum of care” refers to a treatment system in which clients enter treatment at a level appropriate to their needs and then step up to more intense treatment or down to less intense treatment as needed. As outlined by Mee-Lee and Shulman (2003), an effective continuum of care features successful transfer of the client between levels of care, similar treatment philosophy across levels of care, and efficient transfer of client records. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) has established five main levels in a continuum of care for substance abuse treatment, these levels with be presented and reviewed, as will the sequential stages for outpatient treatment. The conception of Continuum of Care as well as Intensive Outpatient goals, intensity, duration, stages of treatment, and the transition to outpatient and community care will be covered in the session.