Hope for the Holidays

Sitting on a waiting list for treatment is a dangerous place to be when in the throes of addiction. But that’s exactly where many of those struggling found themselves when COVID-19 cases started to rise across the country.  Like many other facilities that treat substance use disorders, Cumberland Heights, per CDC guidelines, was forced to reduce medical beds amid the pandemic, creating a backlog in our admissions department.

The Leadership Team at Cumberland Heights knew that in order to continue our organization’s mission of transforming lives, they needed a plan that would get those who were in a state of despair into a house of hope. And that, quite literally, is where Hope Hall came in.

“Hope Hall is basically an extension of the nursing station in the medical building. It will be fully staffed with licensed nurses 24/7 and there will be nine rooms with private accommodations so we will be able to maintain quarantine. It should also significantly improve our ability to provide care to patients during the pandemic,” said Chief Medical Director Dr. Chapman Sledge.

To make room for an ever growing campus, Hope Hall was built in 2013 with a long term goal of making it a space alumni can spend time in when they visit campus – a place filled with proof that recovery works. How fitting it is now for that space to serve as the beginning of someone’s journey to lifelong recovery. 

Dr. Sledge says Hope Hall will help alleviate the bottleneck in admissions we’ve been experiencing due to CDC guidelines preventing us from filling all of our available beds.

“I always worry about patients with addiction in need of treatment on a waiting list. Never does anything good happen during that time,” said Sledge. “This plan will get more people in when they need it.”

Historically, census drops during the holidays because people don’t want to be away from loved ones during that time, but Dr. Sledge says he doesn’t believe those numbers will dip as low this year.

“The pandemic has impacted people so profoundly in so many ways and the worsening of addiction is evident. Hopefully people will continue to access care during the holidays and we will have beds to manage that and move forward,” said Sledge.

Sledge also says being away from families during the holidays is tough, but if you’re battling substance use disorder, treatment now can only mean better holidays to come.

“Every day in active addiction there is a risk of death. It’s so frightening. I would never recommend waiting. The holidays are no exception. Time away from loved ones is difficult, but down the road, the investment of time pays off dramatically. It’s so worth it,” said Sledge.