Devon De Silva & Arun Dhandayudham
Devon De Silva
Devon De Silva works for WDP, a national substance misuse service provider, and oversees the organisations Innovation and Research Unit (IRU). The IRU bridges the gap between academia and service delivery and is responsible for designing and contributing to research within the sector whilst also developing innovations that enhance service delivery. The IRU’s current portfolio includes evaluating the impact of WDP’s digital innovations and adapting interventions traditionally used within the mental health field e.g. Animal Assisted Therapy/Open Dialogue.
I have been a Consultant in Addictions Psychiatry and a frontline clinician since 2005. My clinical roles have included being Clinical Director of substance misuse services across Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire as well as Clinical Lead for CGL in Northamptonshire. I have been in my current role as Joint CEO and Medical Director of WDP since 2015.
WDP is a charity provider of substance misuse services across London, the South East and the North West and treatment is provided across inpatient, community and prison settings. I oversee medical practice across WDP and manage complex detoxes at Passmores House which is an inpatient detox unit in Harlow. I am therefore acutely aware of day to day issues in substance misuse services.
My clinical interests include chronic arousal states such as pain and anxiety and their impacts on addiction, online shopping addiction as well as developing protocols to manage the increasingly complex detoxes for inpatient admissions. I am also passionate about a systems improvement approach and the use of technology such as WDP’s capital card for contingency management.
I have been a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Addictions Faculty for several years and have chaired the Patient and Carer group until 2018. I am currently the coordinator for the Regional Representatives of the Faculty.
Staff experience of remote service delivery during the Covid-19 pandemic
_Aims_ WDP is a UK-based substance misuse charity. research aims to understand the benefits and challenges WDP front-line staff experienced when delivering support remotely during the Covid-19 pandemic.
_Methods_ An online survey was disseminated to all service-based staff across 20 WDP services. 84 service staff completed the survey, equating to one-third of WDP’s service staff. Analysis of survey feedback involved using descriptive statistics and thematic analysis.
Experience: Delivery of support remotely increased from 32% to 86%;
89% of responders rated WDPs remote offer as ‘Good/Very Good/Excellent’. No responders rated the offer as ‘Poor’.;
92% would like to see elements embedded within standard practice;
Benefits: 16 staff reported that working remotely allowed them to spend more time with service users as there were less distractions.;
Staff reported that ‘people with mobility issues are engaging better’ ‘as were cohorts like those employed/living rurally.;
Two reported that remote support can enhance service user engagement as it ‘provides a sense of anonymity’. ;
Two reported that remote working had improved their ‘work/life balance’ ;
Challenges: Staff reported difficulties with supporting complex service users remotely;
many were also offered some form of in-person support. ;
40 reported IT-related challenges e.g. service users not having equipment.;
16 reported difficulties contacting service users.;
Frontline staff rated WDP’s Covid-19 remote offer highly, and the majority felt that elements should be incorporated into standard support. This is Phase 1 of a project which will also capture service user experience. Findings will be used to inform WDP’s future remote support offer