VINTON, Ohio — While the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way most people live, work, worship, and socialize, it’s also affected how addiction treatment centers like Vinton’s Field of Hope operate.
Field of Hope, a substance use treatment center with a campus in Vinton, has had to change its operations during the pandemic to prevent the spread of the virus. However, substance use is often treated through counselling—which usually requires face-to-face contact, which has been reduced during the pandemic.
“Anytime you cut the relationship piece out when you’re dealing with folks in a counselling situation makes it harder,” Kevin Dennis, Field of Hope’s CEO, said. “Nothing replaces face-to-face contact.”
Field of Hope reports it has followed all of the state’s guidelines. Clients and staff are tested if they exhibit symptoms, and temperatures are checked daily. For a time, the facility eliminated outside visitors, and in-person meetings were substituted with virtual ones. According to Dennis, there hasn’t been an in-person 12-step meeting at Field of Hope in weeks. While Dennis prefers in-person meetings, he still thinks much can be gained from virtual ones.
Field of Hope’s gym, which was dedicated last summer, has proven to be useful: it’s spacious, meaning people can space out far enough to maintain social distancing and permit in-person meetings.
Though Dennis believes the pandemic has made recovery more challenging, he also thinks Field of Hope has adjusted well to all the changes.
“It’s worked well, and we’ve done a great job communicating with our patients,” he said. “We’ve been able to maintain our counselling that we needed to do, so it’s all worked pretty well because everyone’s done their part.”
In a less-than-ideal situation, the efforts of both staff and clients have sustained Field of Hope.
“It’s worked better than I thought it would because of everybody’s hard work,” Dennis added. “Our clients have been a part of that too. I’ve been encouraged by their willingness.”
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Sharla Moody is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing from Gallipolis, Ohio. She is a graduate of River Valley High School and currently attends Yale University.