The president and CEO of Retreat Premier Addiction Treatment Centers suggests a simple formula when considering plans for the physical environment of a facility. Make the surroundings as comfortable as possible for patients, Peter Schorr says, and you will succeed in eliminating a host of distractions that can block progress in recovery.
So the modern amenities at Retreat's newest facility in Palm Beach County, Fla., are simple but essential, in Schorr's view: a highly trained chef preparing great food; convenient bathrooms for patients at the detox and rehab levels; a full-service gym and outdoor pool (and it certainly doesn't hurt that, unlike in Retreat's other inpatient site in Pennsylvania, an outdoor pool in Florida can be available for year-round use by patients).
“You want to make it so that the patients can concentrate on what they're there for,” says Schorr. “If one thing goes wrong in the experience, a patient might have a hyper-focus on it, and it could take weeks to get away from those external factors.”
Retreat at Palm Beach opened in June and has a total capacity of 109 beds, with detox and rehabilitation services on the main campus site and Retreat-operated outpatient programming located about two miles away. Schorr says the inpatient site of around 4 acres, which at other times in its history housed a trailer park and an urgent-care center, was brought to his attention several years ago, but the area's later annexation into the community of Palm Springs helped to expedite the location's development as addiction treatment space.
Borrowing from its Pennsylvania facility's history, Retreat is prioritizing a full integration of recreational therapies into its programming in Florida. “We want to get people moving and sweating the toxins out of their body,” says Schorr.
Fitness activities in the center's air-conditioned gym, as well as sports such as basketball and volleyball, will be prominent. Retreat also is looking to its Pennsylvania experiences to determine whether and how it will eventually integrate recreational therapy activities such as equine or canine therapy, says Schorr.
Other amenities offered at the facility include 24-hour admissions, courtesy transportation, and gender- and age-specific group treatment, according to Retreat's outline of the program.
One of the main challenges overall has involved working within the confines of a fairly self-contained property, says Schorr. “It is very different from the Pennsylvania site—it is much smaller,” he says.
Planners have tried to create a Florida look by featuring colors such as melon, aqua and yellow and by commissioning custom-made furniture designed locally. More importantly, Retreat's leaders are working toward creating a payment experience that is decidedly less Florida-like, pursuing in-network status with insurers that would allow Retreat to serve more individuals from the local community. That would truly work to build on the “fresh and new” assessment that Schorr says many observers have given Retreat at Palm Beach during its first months of operation.