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Creating a Culture of Care for Addiction Patients in Palm Beach Gardens, FL

Author: Jaclyn Daugherty

At a time when “machine-sized” treatment centers have reduced patient care to the billable bare minimum, Sunspire Health Recovery Road’s Executive Director Zina Rodriguez is focused on creating a comprehensive, positive patient experience from beginning to end.

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At a time when “machine-sized” treatment centers have reduced patient care to the billable bare minimum, Sunspire Health Recovery Road’s Executive Director Zina Rodriguez is focused on creating a comprehensive, positive patient experience from beginning to end. With clinical help from Medical Director Dr. Noam Koenigsberg, Rodriguez has created what she calls a “culture of care” in her center.

Here’s how:

Creating a Comfortable Environment

Recovery Road is a men’s-only facility, and this gender-specific approach plays an important role in patient comfort and success in treatment. Oftentimes, men have trouble showing emotion or openly discussing substance use, which can be a roadblock to recovery. But with a men’s-only program, the clinical team at Recovery Road can tailor treatment to male-specific issues. This approach can encourage conversation and be very beneficial for their patients.

“Our program has a lot of content on some of the themes and beliefs that are engrained about being a male and how that may play a role in substance abuse,” Dr. Koenigsberg says. 

A gender-specific approach can be especially helpful for men who have other mental health conditions that contribute to their substance use. Rodriguez notes that men may not share these experiences as much if women were in the room.

“They can more openly share their past sexual trauma, or things that they would be vulnerable about in front of women,” she says. “It’s an environment and curriculum that are really built around being able to have those open and honest discussions.”

Personalizing a Patient’s Experience

To create a personal experience for patients, Recovery Road keeps a small patient population. Therapists at this center will have a maximum of five patients in their caseload. This small milieu allows each patient to get close attention they wouldn’t receive at some of the larger treatment facilities.

“With a lot of these big programs, you may be lucky to see your therapist once a week for 15 or 20 minutes,” Dr. Noam Koenigsberg says. “Our therapists have smaller caseloads and they’re able to see people more. The client is getting much more than what is required in our program in terms of clinical treatment.”

A smaller milieu also gives Recovery Road staff time to get to know each patient and keep tabs on any needs or concerns that may arise.

“We have an all-staff community meeting on Mondays where everyone attends—from myself down to the housekeeping staff and whatever milieu is with us. And we ask how their weekend was, or if there are any needs that need to be addressed,” Rodriguez says. “I had a client actually say to us, ‘You guys really care about us too much,’” she adds with a laugh.

But Rodriguez is serious about making sure each patient is cared for individually. “The staff members here from top to bottom really care about the clients. They’re not just numbers.”

Solidifying Patient Success after Treatment

The care and attention a patient gets during the treatment process is crucial, but it’s just as important to set a patient up for success after treatment. Part of this process is making sure the family is on board with the patient’s new sober lifestyle. During treatment, Recovery Road works to ensure a positive outcome by including families in treatment.

“Usually when you dig deep, there’s a family system where there are other addictions, or there are codependent behaviors that enable the addiction to continue,” Zina Rodriguez explains. “Families may need to do their own personal work around how this disease has impacted their life, and sometimes, how they’ve contributed to it.”

Family members are welcome to visit the center and take part in family therapy sessions if they're available to do so. For those who live far away, Recovery Road offers phone-therapy.

“It’s such a crucial component of the work,” she adds. “Because families have the leverage to help us wrap around what the continuum of care should be when the patient leaves.”

Always Looking Ahead

An important part of the patient experience is continually reassessing patient needs and tailoring your program to those needs. Recovery Road is currently refreshing its approach and revamping its facility.

In 2018, there will be a more cohesive campus, including an on-site sober-living home to help patients ease into their sober lifestyle. They’re excited to see how these renovations can help them improve the patient experience and contribute to their “culture of care.”

“I love the work that I do, and I find that everyone here loves what they do,” Rodriguez says. “Being a part of our clients’ recovery is really rewarding.”

Sunspire Health is a nationwide network of behavioral healthcare providers, offering a comprehensive approach to addiction treatment and co-occurring mental health disorders. Learn more by visiting our website at www.sunspirehealth.com