Home > A grounded theory model of the counselling referral process in primary care methadone treatment in Ireland.

Kenny, Kevin (2007) A grounded theory model of the counselling referral process in primary care methadone treatment in Ireland. MSc thesis, Dublin City University.

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In terms of the treatment of illicit drug abuse, methadone maintenance is a well researched and widely applied systematic response. The approach to primary care methadone treatment in Ireland is based on the methadone protocol. Primary care plays a central role in the delivery of methadone treatment.

Beginning with a view that a system evolves within the constraints and influencing factors of its context, the aim of this thesis is to model the process that has developed by which patients on primary care methadone treatment are referred to counselling. It investigates the role primary care practitioners perceive they have in relation to managing the psychosocial aspects of the methadone patient's treatment regime. It analyzes individual medical practitioner counselling referral mechanisms to determine what common processes operate across different practitioners. It identifies the factors that influence the use of counselling on primary care methadone programmes and structures these in a cause/effect model.

This research used interviews and documentary analysis to acquire grounded data. The sample consisted primarily of medical practitioners involved in the delivery of methadone programmes. Others closely involved in the implementation of drug treatment in the primary care context made up the balance of interviewees.

The study used a grounded theory methodology to induce the process that was latent in the grounded data. Concepts emerging were grouped under the headings of referral factors, decision making factors and factors related to the unique positioning of primary care at the interface between medicine and society. The core finding was that, in primary care in Ireland, there is no psychological model to complement the pharmacological intervention of methadone substitution.

The findings from this study offer insight into the factors at work and their impacts, in the context of the use of counselling in primary care methadone treatment. The study suggests a possible direction for further evolution of opiate abuse treatment in Ireland which would transform it from a harm reduction to a holistic patient centric paradigm.

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