Following new elements of care outlined by the New York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), the focus is on providing comprehensive services within a single program.
Rehabilitation includes four hours of clinical treatment seven days a week. This new model has been operational since January 1 at Cazenovia Manor in Buffalo, which serves men in recovery, and Madonna House in Lockport, for women.
Debra Cannon, program manager at Cazenovia Manor, said the new team of nurses, mental health professionals, and family counselors, along with weekly medical director visits, works holistically with Cazenovia Recovery staff.
“If residents have basic primary medical care concerns, our team can now address them,” she said. Velma Cotton, family counselor, is excited to involve families in the treatment process. “Now we can provide counseling to both the family and the person in recovery,” Debra said. A vocational specialist is available to help residents write resumes.
Ryan, the father of three sons, is among the residents welcoming the new model. “It’s a fresh start for this place and for me,” he said. “There’s a really good staff-to-resident ratio. Counselors pay attention to your needs and are very supportive of family visitations.” He appreciates the “stability and structure,” noting, “You have just enough freedom until you can prove to yourself that you can go back out there without drugs.”
Madonna House program manager Kathryn Kaiser oversees a staff that doubled in number. She describes the new situation as “an accelerated program.”
She reported: “The structure of the house is the same, but the women are more engaged in groups. We get options in place more quickly and start the discharge process right at admission. The stay is shorter, so they’re more motivated to complete treatment.”
Madonna House resident Lindsay has a clear goal. “I came here to get my daughter back. She’ll be two in May. I’m working on getting visits and weekends with her,” she said. Intensive counseling that encompasses trauma, mental health, and substance use “focuses on all the areas I need,” she said. “I’m taking full advantage of this program. I’m ready to let go and start moving forward.”