November 29, 2022

Avera leads the way in behavioral and addiction care in the region. The Addiction Care Center will open later this year in Sioux Falls allowing patients an option for detox and a 28-day program focusing on the whole person—body, mind and spirit—to get them on the road to recovery.

Thomas Otten, assistant vice president of Avera Behavioral Health, says Avera’s willingness to take on addiction to this degree shows their commitment to serving a population that doesn’t always get the respect they deserve.

“We feel this is a really critical component,” Otten says. “This is a medical disease, not a character flaw. By putting our stamp on it, we’re saying we believe this is a medical issue. There’s treatment available and we want to be there to help.”

The need is there, Otten says. About 20 times a month, patients needing inpatient residential services are referred for treatment outside of Sioux Falls. While those other facilities are good care facilities, it’s easier on patients and families if they can stay in Sioux Falls.

This new facility will serve patients needing a high to moderate level of addiction care. A patient will typically start in one of the four detox rooms for medical stabilization where they will comfortably and safely withdraw from alcohol or drugs under medical supervision. After detox, the patient moves to one of 28 residential-like rooms to continue their recovery.

All along the journey, faith is a key component.

“As a Catholic organization, faith is something really critical to us,” Otten says.

During design and planning, respect, confidence and hope were woven throughout the care facility, Otten explained. The staff will treat every person with dignity and respect. The evidence-based programs used for recovery give patients and families confidence in the care given. And hope is where faith comes in.

“Treating mind, body and spirit is a core component of who we are as a hospital and what this addiction center will be,” Otten says. “We won’t hide who we are as a Catholic organization, but we welcome all faiths. We really believe that without the spirit component, it’s very hard to heal the whole person.”

Options will be available for a variety of faith needs, including a beautiful chapel/meditation space to focus and pray. For Catholics, a chaplain will be on site to sit down with a patient throughout recovery. Details are still being worked out for taking the Sacraments, but they will also be made available.

And Avera has a plan for after a patient leaves as well. After much research, they believe staying with patients for up to a year gives them a better chance of staying clean.

“There’s a lot of research that says if you keep them engaged in their recovery process for up to a year, you’re going to have a lot better results,” Otten says.

Using things like intensive outpatient programs, addiction care recovery services, a physician navigator to guide patients through the system, tele-video counseling sessions, and even group work either face-to-face or through tele-video will help keep the patients engaged.

“A group all graduated the program together if you will, so we’re going to try to keep that cohort together as much as we can,” Otten says. “There are relationships formed between the counselor and the patients and patient to patient that we think have valuable strength if we can keep them connected.”

The Avera Addiction Care Center will offer tours during the month of November and plans to be ready for patients in early December. Most insurance will cover this type of care, and scholarships will be available for those needing financial assistance. If you are interested in a group tour, please contact Linda Olson at 605-322-7965.

Architectural rendering by Perspective, Inc.