The Therapeutic Community Standards

ATCA has developed a set of service standards, the objective being to ensure the integrity of the “Therapeutic Community” principle is maintained and continues to stand as a model of best practice in the treatment of substance misuse and co-occurring disorders. The set of standards aim to:

  • Identify and describe good TC practice which can be incorporated into a national quality framework
  • Enable Therapeutic Communities to engage in service evaluation and quality improvement, using methods and values that reflect the TC philosophy
  • Develop a common language which will facilitate effective relationships with all jurisdictions (national, state and territory)
  • Provide a strong network of supportive relationships
  • Promote best practice through shared learning and developing external links.

The set of Australasian AOD TC Standards developed covers eight areas, identified in the
literature as being significant to the health care sector. These eight areas are also replicated
in most of the sets of standards that the AOD TC sector is currently applying. As such the
TC Standards can be well linked with and complement any existing quality process. The
inclusion of these eight areas was confirmed as important for the sector in the consultation
process that informed the development of the TC Standards. The areas covered include:

  1. Appropriate and timely service provision;
  2. Leadership and management principles;
  3. Consumer participation;
  4. Strategic human resource management;
  5. Information management and appropriate use/evaluation of data;
  6. Occupational health and safety;
  7. Health and safety risk management; and
  8. Continuous improvement.

The standard statements are broad, asserting the overall desired statement that a TC aims
to make in each of the areas.  The standards are as follows:

  1. Service provision at the TC is informed by evidence based practice and sector literature, including the Australasian TC Essential Elements.
  2. Clear principles, that are complementary to the TC model inform and guide the work of the leaders and managers of the TC.
  3. Resident member participation is supported and acknowledged as a key component of the TC.
  4. The human resource management at the TC emphasises open and transparent communication that enhances, maintains and sustains the development of knowledge and skills in line with the TC principles and model.
  5. Information management ensures the rights of the resident members are maintained and the use of data supports continuous quality improvement and improved outcomes.
  6. The TC is compliant with Occupational Health and Safety legislation to ensure the well being of all community members.
  7. The health and safety of individual resident members is a priority for the TC. Monitoring practice and regularly reviewing processes is embedded into the everyday practice of the TC.

Each standard has a set of indicators which, when demonstrated, support the assertion of the standard.

ATCA members’ participation in the process of developing the TC Standards is a demonstration of the solidarity and goodwill within the TC sector. The TC Standards have been developed by the sector for the sector.

All of the above information is from the ATCA Standards and the ATCA Standards Support Package written by Jill Rundle and funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.  As per the copyright, this information has been reproduced for the purpose of supporting the quality processes of Cyrenian House, an ATCA member organisation and to further promote community understanding with regard to the TC Model.