“At The GateHouse, we’re treating the whole person, and that means helping them gain access to all of the resources they need to maintain recovery.”
– Kendrick Westmoreland
When a client leaves one of our Residential Extended Care facilities and returns to their community, life in recovery begins. That transition can be overwhelming and is often a time when a client needs our support more than ever.
Kendrick Westmoreland was one such client.
Kendrick walked through the doors of The GateHouse as a client years ago. Today, he’s paying it forward through his work as our Clinical Director of Outpatient Services. Kendrick supervises the implementation of each of the outpatient services, making sure that each outpatient client has what they need as they continue on their recovery journey.
Outpatient Services at The GateHouse
At The GateHouse, our outpatient services are one more way we help clients successfully transition back into their communities. Our outpatient programs provide client-centered services, which means services can look different for different patients.
So, to better understand the various types of outpatient services at The GateHouse, we sat down with Kendrick to discuss the ins and outs. He shared not only a wealth of information with us about outpatient services, but also the story of one outpatient client affectionately nicknamed the ‘pink unicorn.’
TGH: The GateHouse provides multiple levels of care under the umbrella of ‘Outpatient Services.’ Can you break down each level for us?
KW: Definitely. Outpatient clients come to us after they finish treatment at one of our residential treatment centers. At The GateHouse, we have three levels of treatment that fall under Outpatient Services; Partial Hospitalization Treatment, Intensive Outpatient Treatment and General Outpatient Treatment.
Our clients who need the most support in recovery after they leave our treatment center transition into our Partial Hospitalization Treatment. Our partial hospitalization treatment clients usually need short-term housing as they determine the next steps they’ll take in recovery. They also typically need additional education and relapse intervention support.
Outpatient clients receiving partial hospitalization treatment meet four times a week. Each session is five hours. There they’re given access to further life skills education. For one treatment session, we hosted Penn State and its extension program. We had a guest from the University give clients a 6-week nutrition education course, teaching them how to eat healthy on a limited budget. We provided food that the clients cooked and prepared in class. They loved it.
One level down from partial hospitalization treatment is Intensive Outpatient Treatment. Under the outpatient services umbrella, this is the level of care that clients enter if they still need some support but are employed and living in the community in housing they’ve secured on their own – not in one of our transitional living residences. Usually, these clients are also in an Alcoholics Anonymous program or some other outside recovery service beyond The GateHouse.
Intensive outpatient clients participate in group sessions three days a week for three hours each session. These sessions are led by our matrix model, an evidence-based curriculum where we match the needs of each client in the group and then base each session’s topic around those needs. They also attend a one-on-one weekly session with one of our counselors.
General Outpatient Treatment is the final level of care within our outpatient services. General outpatient is for a client who is well-established in the community, employed, and able to care for themselves, but just need periodic reinforcement of the skills they learned during treatment.
Our general outpatient treatment includes relapse prevention, identifying the warning signs or triggers of relapse, navigating the recovery process, and much more.
The depth of skill development and the time commitment to general outpatient treatment is based fully on the client’s needs. One client may need one group session per week, while another may need a bi-weekly group session with weekly individual sessions. General outpatient is completely tailored to the client.
TGH: Your outpatient services sound like they take place over the course of several months, even years. How long do most clients stay in outpatient treatment? And, especially for those who need longer-term care, does The GateHouse work with clients who need financial assistance?
KW: We don’t put a limit on how long a client is with us. They participate in our outpatient services for as long as they need to while working towards the ability to live a healthy life on their own. We’re with them through recovery. So, for as long as they need us, we’re not going anywhere.
As far as finances go, The GateHouse is wonderful about helping our clients navigate the financial barriers that may exist when they’re working to access our services. We’ll help them apply for medical assistance or find other sources of funding. We’re also fortunate to have a pool of supportive donors who give us the ability to offer some funding. The bottom line is that we don’t let a lack of income or insurance coverage get in the way of our clients receiving the care they need.
TGH: Can you tell us about one of your clients and how these outpatient services really made an impact on their recovery?
KW: Absolutely. The client who immediately comes to mind is a 70-year-old gentleman we affectionately nicknamed the Pink Unicorn. He was a heroin addict with serious health issues that required him to see several specialists. He didn’t have any family or support system. So, we set him up in one of our recovery houses to take care of his immediate housing needs. Next, we connected him with Penn Medicine and a team of specialists.
From there, his outpatient treatment focused on providing him the tools to maintain recovery and live independently. So, beyond his addiction treatment, we connected him with a 6-month money management plan that we run here at The GateHouse. The plan helped him save enough money to eventually rent an apartment.
TGH: Wow, so you and your team are often supporting clients beyond the outpatient services that you provide directly.
KW: Yes, we go to where the need is. In the case of this client, he needed long-term recovery treatment, housing and medical care. So, we found those for him.
It’s important to remember that many of our clients live in communities that aren’t healthy. If we had only focused on this client’s addiction recovery and sent him back out into his community after treatment, we’d be sending him back into an unhealthy community without the resources he needs – in his case, proper housing and health care. It’s hard to maintain recovery in a community that’s isn’t well.
At The GateHouse, we’re treating the whole person, and that means helping them gain access to all of the resources they need to maintain recovery.
The GateHouse offers outpatient services for long-term addiction recovery to clients throughout Lancaster County, PA. We help our clients access the services and resources they need to return and contribute to their communities. Kendrick and our entire team at The GateHouse would love to help you with your next step in recovery. Reach out to us today!