Lighting the Way for Healthier Communities: Around-the-Clock Care Never Stops

Friday, August 07, 2020

It’s National Health Center Week, an annual opportunity to show appreciation for our patients, our health services staff and our community as we care for one another. Throughout the week, we’re putting the spotlight on the resiliency of our patients and staff in adapting to the reality of COVID-19, and elevating the partnerships, ingenuity and hard work that help us keep our community safe and healthy.

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At three of Central City Concern’s Federally Qualified Health Center sites, caring for patients as they heal and start on the path toward recovery happens around the clock.

Hooper Detoxification Stabilization Center, Letty Owings Center and the Recuperative Care Program provide inpatient care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These three programs serve different populations, but each faced similar challenges when it came to safely serving patients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hooper Detox provides inpatient treatment for acute withdrawal from addictive substances. Letty Owings Center gives mothers and pregnant women who are recovering from substance use disorder a safe, supportive place to heal with their children. The Recuperative Care Program (RCP), located inside CCC’s Blackburn Center, gives people with serious medical conditions a safe and sanitary place to stay for continued healing once they leave the hospital.

None of these programs could close their doors during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the public health emphasis on limiting face-to-face interactions. Instead, they shared ideas and best practices in order to remain open, installed plexiglass barriers where possible, increased the frequency of sanitization and cleaning, changed how meals were prepared and served, decreased traffic in shared spaces and more.

Since March 1, Hooper Detox has supported more than 900 patients in safely withdrawing from addictive substances and transitioning to long-term treatment.

Together, the programs found ways to increase physical distance – by adding more space between patient beds at Hooper Detox and reducing the number of group counseling sessions at Letty Owings, for example – without sacrificing supportive connections.

And their work has continued.

Since March 1, Hooper Detox has supported more than 900 patients in safely withdrawing from addictive substances and transitioning to long-term treatment. Letty Owings is currently housing 25 women and their children while they take the first steps to transform their lives. RCP hasn’t slowed down either. As the only program of its kind in the state, they have supported the recuperation of nearly 200 clients since March 1 — and they continue to connect patients to stable housing once they have healed.

When new clients arrive at the Recuperative Care Program, they are greeted by friendly faces and private rooms. Having a clean, safe and secure place to recuperate from illness or injury is more important than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jessica Savara, RCP Manager, said that fear and uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge for RCP patients, who have histories of mental health challenges, trauma, substance use and homelessness, in addition to their current medical needs.

“For many of our clients at RCP, this is the first time that they can go behind doors that lock. To have that extra layer of security during COVID is so important for their well-being,” Savara said.

Clients at Hooper Detox, Letty Owings and RCP are also assured that if they do develop COVID-like symptoms, they will have a safe place to go.

“Patients get annoyed when we ask about symptoms every day, but they’re reassured too,” said Savara. “They know we’re attuned to their health, and that if they show symptoms, they won’t just be booted out.”

Instead, each program has developed isolation protocols so that patients can safely recover on-site if needed.

The ongoing successes at Hooper Detox, Letty Owings and RCP are dependent on the dedication, diligence and resilience of their staff members.

The ongoing successes at Hooper Detox, Letty Owings and RCP are dependent on the dedication, diligence and resilience of their staff members.

“We’re navigating this together, tending to our clients and to one another. I have so much respect for the folks here,” said Savara. For the patients working toward recovery and self-sufficiency at each of these programs, that culture of mutual support has never been more important.