Green Hill Recovery Program Update: March 20, 2020

We’re in unprecedented territory with the novel coronavirus affecting public health and wreaking havoc on the economy. The leadership at Green Hill is dedicated to providing our residents, families, and the broader treatment community support and resources as we navigate unfamiliar terrain. We are embracing our core value of “transparency” by providing this update on how we, as a team, are addressing the unfolding coronavirus situation. This is the framework we’re embracing as we respond to the situation day by day. 

As such, we are writing to share our “playbook” with the community in the event that it may be useful for your residents, their families, or your programs at large. We have developed a framework for responding to the chaos as it unfolds. 

  1. Family Communications 
  2. Policies & Procedures 
  3. Program Updates 
  4. Leadership: Combatting Fatigue 

Family Communications

Communication with families has been focused on proactively addressing fears. We have narrowed that down to three main areas:

  • COVID-19 preparation / response strategies: Families want to know if we are even acknowledging this as a risk, and what we are doing to prevent the spread. We sent two lengthy communications about changes in our operations. These were very procedural in nature, and tried to lean in on detail. We want parents to know that we are taking this seriously, taking all necessary precautions, and staying up to date with any recommendations from governing bodies. 
  • Financial insecurities / costs of treatment: We routinely say the worst outcome for our residents is for a successful treatment stint to end early due to financial hardship. This is now more true than ever. Before sending out our monthly invoices, we sent a note to parents encouraging them to stay in contact with us regarding their up-to-date finances.   
  • Should my loved one(s) be at home or in treatment?: We addressed this fear with a communication regarding the intersection of SUD and COVID-19. We reminded families that SUD is a life and death struggle and highlighted the increased risks in an environment of uncertainty. We also took this opportunity to highlight our programming changes to keep everyone engaged and keep our milieu strong. 

Policies and Procedures

We have made the following changes to our day-to-day operations and admissions procedures. We have communicated these changes to parents and residents, and held additional training for all staff. Every morning, our leadership team discusses the current state of affairs and if and how we need to change our policies based on the guidance from the CDC, North Carolina DHHS, our medical providers, and our outside advisors. 


  • Added screening questionnaire criteria for COVID-19
  • Quarantine policies for new residents if necessary
  • Temperature checks & single point of entry


  • Updated our program schedule to facilitate a wider range of active and engaging programing within Green Hill’s facilities:
    • In-house 12-step, Recovery Dharma, and SMART meetings 
    • In-house workout & fitness sessions 
    • Peer planned and facilitated activities
    • Outdoor experiential programming 
  • Restricted all non-essential community activities, outings, and programming 
  • Cancelled all non-essential resident travel 
  • Provided further education and training to our staff and residents on social distancing practices and healthy community living procedures
  • Conducted early refills of all resident medication 
  • Initiated updated academic schedules to ensure structure and support for residents transitioning to remote learning
  • Updated twice daily cleaning protocol 

Program Updates

We responded quickly to the call for social distancing—not an easy task for our milieu that is used taking advantage of our downtown Raleigh location. In between online classes and clinical work, our residents are participating in the Van Dyke Olympiad, which is our integration of social distancing and community engagement. Though our residents are effectively quarantined to our properties, they are participating in a wide range of activities from yard games, board games, and cooking challenges, to fitness challenges, meditation groups, and video game tournaments.

We split our community of residents, clinicians, and program staff into four teams that compete for points throughout the week. As we know, it’s imperative that young adults in early recovery have plenty of structure and that required us to be creative with our schedule while also increasing our staffing. In addition to the changes in staffing and programming, we invested in gym equipment, badminton sets, and a variety of other games that can be played close to home. 

Last Week’s Highlights: 

  • Kickball tournament
  • Fitness challenge/class (daily)
  • Meditation & yoga groups 
  • Texas Hold ‘em tournament
  • Madden tournament
  • Pool tournament 
  • Cards Against Humanity 

Leadership: Combatting Fatigue 

For those of us in recovery, we’ve learned that it is not the circumstances that surround us, but our reactions to those situations that foster our triumph over substance abuse and mental health disorders. Ceaselessly operating under the maxim of “Unity,” at Green Hill Recovery, we’re committed to our residents health and wellbeing regardless of the context. From CEO to resident, we’re working steadfastly to deal with these difficult times with the fortitude, mindfulness and, yes, even humor, which our organization has come to represent. 

At the leadership level, we are recognizing that this crisis may be more of a marathon than a sprint, and it will require ongoing culture management to ensure our staff stays motivated. 

  • Weekly check-in roster for our entire staff
  • 15-minute daily pulse meeting for the leadership team to make sure we are staying in the ‘day at a time’ mindset
  • Greater emphasis placed on self care and work life balance 

The Green Hill team is committed to providing top-notch care for our clients and their families. As such, we are continually monitoring the public health situation and changing our programming, policies, and procedures without losing focus on the pressing issues of substance use and mental health.