Detox center opening nears

Detox center opening nears

A former third floor nurses station at Fayette Regional Health System is being transformedduringrenovation for the new North Star Recovery Center.

By DARRELL SMITH – dsmith@newsexaminer.com

Work continues at a feverish pace on the new third-floor adult detox center at Fayette Regional Health System.

Inquiries from potential patiens have been coming in from all over the region. Katrina Norris, the hospital’s behavioral health and addiction services director, said the staff is developing a waiting list of people who want to come here.

“It is interesting to hear people say, ‘We don’t want to go to Indianapolis,’ because normally it’s the opposite; people want to go to Indianapolis for treatment,” Norris said. “I’m getting Indianapolis people saying they want to get out of Indianapolis.”

People want anonymity in their treatment especially if they are not the traditional substance abuse patients, she said. Many are people who were prescribed legal drugs and became addicted: lawyers, doctors, firefighters. They don’t want to go to treatment where people know them.

“We will treat the disease just like we treat people with cancer, comfortably and compassionately and aggressively,” Norris said. “The ultimate goal is we are not fixing them in five to seven days, we’re stabilizing them and leading them to the next step, the guiding light to recovery.”

“Which is why we call it ‘North Star,’” Nesbitt pointed out.

Since the hospital announced its plans last Aug. 18, people in the community have anxiously awaited the opening of North Star Recovery, the new detoxification and substance abuse treatment center.

The wait will end on Thursday, June 28 as the hospital opens the new facility. Patients will be admitted later, according to Norris.

An invitation-only VIP luncheon and ribbon cutting is 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The public open house is 4-6 p.m.

At last August’s announcement of the center, the hospital reported receiving a roughly $9.2 million federal grant through the Indiana State Department of Health from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program. The money is paying for a complete renovation of part of the third floor into a Level 4 detox unit, the highest standard for such centers.

Fayette Regional is the number one hospital in the state, per capita, for saving the lives of overdose patients. At that time, Fayette County had seen a 40 percent increase in drug- and alcohol-related deaths and had the state’s highest rate per capita for drug poisoning deaths, FRHS President and CEO Randy White told those gathered for the announcement.

Several speakers from the state will address the VIP event, including the late Ryan White’s mother Jeanne White-Ginder of Ryan White Tribute & Legacy.

The goal is to let the public know what the center will do and why it is being done, Norris said. The open house can serve as an opportunity to get those questions answered.

The center includes 46 patient rooms, six of those specifically for high-intensive medical cases, 12 psychiatric spaces and then the remainder will all separated by gender, Norris said. There are specialized areas for the wide variety of cases that will come through the door.

There are group rooms, activity rooms, quiet rooms, a patio and an exercise room, she said. Care will be individualized.

Approximately 43 people have been hired for North Star. By July 1, the staff will be bigger, Norris said.

Nursing positions, registered nurses and licensed practical nurses, are still needed, she said. Some security positions and master’s level physical therapist jobs remain open.

Multiple certified recovery coaches have been hired, she said. Charmin Gabbard will serve as the intake coordinator. She will use her experience in her own recovery to start them on their way through treatment.

“All the way through, the patient will be with someone who can say, ‘I’ve been there and done that,’” Nesbitt said.

The staff will need to be place at the start because the hospital believes that large numbers of patients will be coming the day the doors open, Norris said.