2015 Best Practice Standards Involving Participant-Identified “Significant Persons” in Behavioral Treatment and Recovery Programs
The FRN Family Involvement (FI) Standards are part of the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health/ Intellectual disAbility Services Practice Guidelines.
The term “participant” as used here is meant to apply to those who participate in and receive behavioral health services, also known as consumers or persons in recovery.
The term “significant person” (SP) includes everyone (other than treatment staff) who may be important to participants’ recovery and treatment: family members, friends, relatives, roommates, spouses/partners, clergy, etc. Identifying important significant persons to involve in participants’ recovery is a collaborative process between participants and staff members. A release of information from the participant is always necessary to allow staff to contact SPs, except in cases of threat of injury or death.
Summary of Best Practice Standards:
To conform to FRN FI Best Practice Standards, providers must, at a minimum, adopt the following as formal policies and procedures, and formally monitor participant records for documentation of the ongoing use of these practices.
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1. Obtain a release to speak with a significant person as part of routine initial paperwork prior to start of regular services
2. Contact the SP within the first five working or program days after intake and discuss key issues.
3. Formally monitor ongoing staff FI practices.
4. Offer ongoing support, advice, and resources to SPs.
5. Provide regular training, assessment of training, and supervision in FI.
6. Encourage SP participation in planning and helping participant with recovery goals.
7. Document all steps taken regarding significant persons in formal records.
8. Printed program and resource information should be provided within the first month after participant admission to all significant people with releases.
9. Recruit representatives of significant persons to serve on policy and/or feedback committees or groups; collect regular feedback from SPs.
10. Invite significant persons to social and educational events at the agency.
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