Nestled at the base of a mountain in the foothills of the Berkshires, Mountainside Treatment Center in Canaan, Conn., recently underwent major facility and staff expansions with the goal of becoming an optimal destination for comprehensive addiction treatment.
The revamped 52,000-square-foot facility includes a new 24-hour, 20-bed medical detox center as well as newly opened outpatient services. Mountainside is gearing up to unveil more new services and amenities in 2015, including an expanded family wellness program, an enhanced extended-care program, and a new gymnasium. The facility also recently reopened its Mountainside Café to the community, which provides a supportive work environment for clients to learn and practice healthy, independent living.
The objective to create an ideal environment for treatment and provide a continuum of care drove the decision to invest in capital improvements and increase the caliber of staff in 2009, says chief operating officer Martin Fedor.
“Evidence has always shown that the likelihood of long-term recovery or sobriety is greater with a seamless continuity of care. Expanding our services now allows us to provide sequential treatment, or to meet a client wherever they may be along their [treatment] journey,” Fedor says.
A mantra at Mountainside is “You are what you measure,” he says, and the staff makes a point to manage the facility by measuring results and refining programs and services based on those results.
“With these concepts in mind, we have managed to help far more people than we were able to with each year,” Fedor says.
The center’s physical spaces, both interior and exterior, were developed using evidence-based design practices meant to enhance the treatment provided. This is something Mountainside has invested heavily in through the years since it opened in 1998.
“We believe in total, holistic wellness and for that to happen, an environment needs to be a complement [to treatment],” Fedor says. “Environment is a very important factor, especially in healing. Everything that we try to do is to support healing and encourage people to commit to being there and to be there for themselves.”
For example, guest rooms offer picture windows with views of the mountain range; client lounges, staff offices and public spaces such as the dining room offer panoramic windows; and labyrinth-inspired corridors have natural lighting with skylights. The use of abundant lighting, soothing colors, and reclaimed wood throughout the facility are all features of evidence-based design practices, Fedor says.
“We took a very thoughtful approach to design a building to create the ideal environment for which treatment can occur. We tried to bring nature inside and create an overall calming and healing environment,” he says.
Evidence-based design practices were also incorporated into landscaping the 60-acre campus. Natural paths and trails were created alongside streams that lead to a waterfall, for example. New outdoor lounge spaces and courtyards also were recently introduced.
“The spaces we have created have enabled our staff to be innovative and genuinely want to be at work,” Fedor says, adding that for true, integrated treatment to occur, counselors need to be able to work effectively with their team as well as the individual clients.
“The environment encourages teamwork, and for us to have that lens of a happy workforce—a workforce that wants to genuinely, compassionately and innovatively think about clients’ care—it’s really something unique," he says.