A Message from our CEO
To Our Community (4/13/20):
I want to begin by thanking all my teammates at RCA for your courage and dedication in our unifying fight to help save the lives of those suffering from addiction. Every day you make a choice to honor the commitment we all made when we started on this journey together. Times have never been tougher, and I am so grateful that I have the toughest, most caring and compassionate team in the world. We are publicly highlighting RCA Heroes every day, but please be clear that every single one of you is my hero no matter what the role is that you play to fulfill our Mission....
I also want to assure you that you have my full support in continuing to put the health and safety of patients, families, visitors and staff above all else. Since I wrote last time, we have dramatically increased the precautionary measures that are essential to the prevention and containment of the spread of COVID-19. All of this is done to keep safety at the highest levels possible while keeping our doors open 24/7 in the fight against addiction.
We are closely following information and recommendations provided by the Centers for Disease Control and local public health authorities to ensure the health and safety of all who are a part of the RCA community. Information and guidance are rapidly changing, so we wanted to provide an update on the current status of measures we have implemented.
Some of our current measures include:
- We continue to screen prospective patients for current symptoms and recent close contacts or travel that put them at higher risk for COVID-19. Individuals who are at high risk for having COVID-19 are quickly identified and reviewed on an individualized basis prior to admission.
- We continue to monitor patients throughout their treatment stay as those individuals who develop symptoms congruent with COVID-19 symptoms at any point are immediately reviewed and discharged to the appropriate level of care as indicated.
- In addition to implementing new pre-screening measures before admission and on-site assessment for signs and symptoms, Recovery Centers of America is now utilizing GENETWORx COVID-19 tests for all newly admitted patients at many of our facilities. GENETWORx is a CLIA-certified laboratory owned by RCA that is providing COVID-19 tests to the public as well. While awaiting test results, patients continue to receive around-the-clock medical supervision and participate in activities virtually, separate from the residential living space of other patients. Patients with a negative COVID-19 test are transferred to the general patient population for ongoing addiction treatment, and those who test positive are discharged to a more appropriate level of care.
- In order to better protect everyone’s health and safety, all RCA staff and patients are now required to wear facial coverings when on-site. RCA has provided our staff with procedural masks. Homemade cloth masks are permitted if desired, but procedural masks are encouraged for optimal protection. All patients are also given a procedural mask either at admission or via RCA transportation, though patients may bring and wear their own masks, too. Masks can only be removed when sleeping, taking medication, eating or smoking. The mask can be removed when a patient is in their room, but it must be worn when interacting with staff or within 6 feet of their roommate. As supplies remain limited across the country, all masks provided to patients and employees should remain in use until damaged or visibly soiled.
- Several weeks ago, we limited all patient groups to 10 people or less. We continue to provide guidance about maintaining proper social distancing as well.
- For all staff and patients, we are actively promoting the critical importance of regular hand washing for 20 seconds with soap and water, proper coughing and sneezing etiquette, and avoiding touching your face to reduce transmission of COVID-19.
- Since all outside visitation has been suspended, we are virtually involving families in their loved ones’ treatment. We have established a series of webinars for families and a weekly family support group. The WebEx platform is also used for individual family visits and therapy sessions.
- Since March 23, all our outpatient services are being conducted virtually using the WebEx platform for groups and individual sessions.
- For our alumni, we are hosting daily virtual NA and AA meetings and lunch and learn speaking events on various topics, including gratitude in difficult times, recovery in relationships and other alumni recovery meetings, such as virtual recovery yoga, daily meditations, group therapy led by licensed clinicians, 12 Steps in 12 Days, and Virtual Seeds to Recovery for families.
- We continue to use a controlled single entry and exit at each site where all staff are screened daily for symptoms and have their temperatures taken prior to entering the facility. Staff are encouraged to remain home if they feel sick. If they present to work appearing ill or develop illness while at work, they are immediately sent home.
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizer is available for staff use between times when they can wash their hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds.
- We have advised staff when they arrive home at the end of their shift to wash their hands, wash their clothing, shower and change into clean clothes to reduce the risk of viral transmission.
- All MAT services remain operational and provide necessary dosing while mitigating patient interactions and offering teletherapy services.
- Visitation remains suspended at all sites.
- All cleaning products have been reviewed for effectiveness against COVID 19 and additional products have been added for use. Facility directors have bolstered RCA cleaning protocols to remain in line with all CDC recommendations in order to help limit the spread of infection.
- The supply chain for necessary cleaning supplies and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is constantly reviewed and inventory of items is monitored daily to ensure adequate supplies at each RCA location. Despite the current strain on the supply chain, RCA has been able to obtain the appropriate PPE for our level of care as outlined by the CDC. This includes procedural masks, eye protection, gloves, gowns and other needed items.
- Our recruiters will continue to review qualified candidates via teleconference or phone to identify finalists prior to any face-to-face interview to limit individuals entering the facility as we continue to fill vacant and needed positions.
- Senior Managers at RCA meet several times daily to review the latest guidance and best practices related to managing substance use disorders during the pandemic.
We are optimistic that the measures we have put in place will help ensure the health and safety of our patients, families, visitors and staff. We are continually updating our communications to be certain the most up-to-date information is provided. If you have suggestions, questions or concerns, please let us know. RCA is your partner in the fight against COVID-19 and addiction.
Recovery Resources During Coronavirus
Welcome to Recovery Centers of America Coronavirus Resource Page. This coronavirus pandemic will certainly be a difficult time for everyone, but there are reasons why those of us in recovery or those struggling with drug and alcohol use may have a particularly difficult time.
We’re a group of folks who may seem difficult to characterize at first. While we thrive on human interaction, we’re also people who like to isolate, especially when we’re active in our addiction or experiencing uncomfortable feelings. And what’s more uncomfortable than being socially isolated while there’s an illness we don’t know much about impacting people across the globe? These issues of uncertainty around work, school, and family issues – when will we get to go back to school, how will we manage with “social distancing” that may keep us in a house with family members who are not supportive of our recovery? For those still struggling with drugs and alcohol, how will our body react without the substances? Is withdrawal likely? And for everyone – where do we turn to find the support we used to get from AA, NA, Al-anon, other types of recovery meetings, therapists, houses of worship and other resources?
RCA is here to help. We will provide support by making as many resources as possible available during this time. In addition to the RCA website and this page, please check out our Facebook page for updates and additional resources, web casts, Facebook live chats, and more.
Helpful Resource Links:
How to Talk to Your Kids About Addiction and the Coronavirus
– Written by Trish Caldwell, RCA Director of Family Services
A Recipe for Self-Nurturing in Times of Stress
– Written by Amber D. Chamberlain, M.ED, LPC, RCA Treatment Advocate
Freeing Ourselves From Chaos Through Spiritual Principles
– Written by Peter Krespan, Recovery Educator
We Asked: How are Alumni Managing Recovery Right Now? Here are Their Tips
– Written by Audra Franchini, Communications Manager, with contributions from RCA’s Alumni Association
Self-Care During Uncertain Times
– Written by Lauren Vandenbraak, RCA Treatment Advocate
Coronavirus is Stopping a Lot of Things – but Local Addiction Treatment isn’t one of Them
– Written by Audra Franchini, Communications Manager