Variation in AOD treatment delivery settings

Some types of treatment provided to AOD clients require specific settings. For example, withdrawal (detox) and rehabilitation treatment service types are mostly provided in residential settings whereas counselling, and support and case management can be provided in most settings.

Figure COVID DELIVERYSETTTING1: Treatment episodes, by treatment delivery setting, state and territory, quarterly data, 2018–19 to 2020–21

The line graph shows that non-residential treatment settings remained the most common delivery setting between July–September 2018 and April–June 2021. Episodes provided in non-residential treatment settings fluctuated over the period, decreasing from 38,883 episodes in January–March 2020 (pre-COVID) to 37,072 in April–June 2020 (Wave 1). Episodes then increased to 40,857 in July–September 2020 (Wave 2) but then decreased to 39,646 in April–June 2021 (Wave 3). A filter allows the user to view data for Australia or by state/territory.

A comparison of national quarterly trends in AOD service delivery settings between 2018–19 and 2020–21 showed variation across the first three waves of COVID-19 and the implementation of public health restrictions. For example:

  • for Residential treatment settings:
    • there was a drop in treatment episodes in Apr-Jun 2020, which coincided with the first wave of the pandemic
    • treatment episodes over the next 12 months to Jun 2021 steadily increased, indicating easing of localised lockdown restrictions in some states and territories as well as services adapting to health restrictions.
  • for Outreach settings:
    • there was a notable decrease in Apr-Jun 2020 treatment episodes, coinciding with the first wave of the pandemic
    • this decrease continued from Jul 2020 to Jun 2021, coinciding with the second wave and the beginning of the third wave of the pandemic
    • most services providing external visits discontinued face-to-face contact with clients, moving to telehealth options.
  • for Home settings:
    • there was a substantial increase in some treatment episodes provided in Apr-Jun 2020 coinciding with the first wave of the pandemic. This may reflect AOD services providing Telehealth services in the home
    • treatment episodes decreased between Jul 2020 and Jun 2021 but remained higher than pre pandemic levels (Figure COVID DELIVERYSETTTING1, tables COVID.13-COVID.21).