Background: Patients with opioid use disorder (OUD) often have complex health care needs. Methadone is one of the medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) used in the management of OUDs. Highly restrictive methadone treatment—which requires patient compliance with many rules of care—often results in low retention, especially if there is inadequate support from healthcare providers (HCPs). Nevertheless, HCPs should strive to offer patient-centred care (PCC) as it is deemed the gold standard to care. Such an approach can encourage patients to be actively involved in their care, ultimately increasing retention and yielding positive treatment outcomes.
Methods: In this secondary analysis, we aimed to explore how HCPs were applying the principles of PCC when caring for patients with OUD in a highly restrictive, biomedical and paternalistic setting. We applied Mead and Bower’s PCC framework in the secondary analysis of 40 in-depth, semi-structured interviews with both HCPs and patients.
Results: We present how PCC's concepts of; (a) biopsychosocial perspective; (b) patient as a person; (c) sharing power and responsibility; (d) therapeutic alliance and (e) doctor as a person—are applied in a methadone treatment program. We identified both opportunities and barriers to providing PCC in these settings.
Conclusion: In a highly restrictive methadone treatment program, full implementation of PCC is not possible. However, implementation of some aspects of PCC is possible to improve patient empowerment and engagement with care, possibly leading to an increase in retention and better treatment outcomes.