Formerly Southwest Florida Addiction Services, SalusCare is the largest provider of comprehensive addiction services in Southwest Florida. Formed in 2013 by a merger between Lee Mental Health and Southwest Florida Addiction Services (SWFAS), SalusCare has been providing the full range of continuing care for substance abuse and co-occurring disorders—from detox to sober living—for over 35 years.
Accommodations and Food
Of SalusCare’s seven locations, two provide inpatient substance abuse, one is strictly for detox, two are psych crisis units only and two facilitate outpatient substance abuse programs. Priority admission into all programs is given to pregnant females, women with children and IV drug users. All facilities are in Fort Myers, except for the campus on Cape Coral, just across the Caloosahatchee River.
SalusCare provides medical detox for adults, 18 years and over, at the Evans Campus in Ft. Meyers. This is a hospital setting with 29 beds, where two clients share a room and an en-suite restroom.
The adult inpatient substance abuse program is located at the Transitional Living Campus in Fort Myers. From the outside it looks like an apartment building. Inside, 20 men and women sleep upstairs and downstairs, separated by gender. All rooms are double occupancy and there are two full bathrooms on each floor. Single beds, nightstands and a shared closet make for simple but adequate room décor. There is a TV room for free time, a pavilion for groups and a therapy room for individual sessions.
The Vince Smith campus is home to the inpatient adolescent substance abuse program for men and women between the ages 13 and 17 in a similar set-up to the adult program. With so many locations, it can get confusing to keep them straight. SalusCare has done a good job of providing a standard level of care at all facilities—clients share rooms and bathrooms until they graduate from inpatient care; meals are provided by kitchen staff and served cafeteria style and there is a salad bar available at lunch and dinner. Certain dietary needs can be accommodated beyond this, but must be discussed prior to admission.
Treatment and Staff
Potential clients need to schedule an intake assessment with a counselor at one of three sites: Vince Smith Campus, Cape Coral Campus or the Ortiz Campus. The most severe sufferers usually begin treatment in detox, which lasts for three to 10 days and is under the care of a physician and attending staff. From here, clients enter the adult residential program for 28 days to three months. The typical schedule consists of group therapy, substance abuse classes, relapse prevention and some individual therapy, based on need. Licensed substance abuse counselors facilitate groups and members from local 12-step programs are on site three times a week to run step studies and evening meetings. Days begin at 6 am and usually end after the last meeting at 9:30 pm.
The adult outpatient program is located at Cape Coral Campus. Housed on the second floor of an office building, the two therapy rooms are comfortable but not too cozy, like the waiting room at a doctor’s office. Depending on the assessment, clients meet two to three times a week for group and individual therapy. Substance abuse counselors facilitate all sessions and the type of therapy depends on each counselor’s background and training.
Step down care services allow residents and outpatient clients to move into transitional care and then Sober Living where they can work while still being therapeutically supported. There are two halfway houses on the Transitional Campus where the residential program is, providing services to 30 men and women, including life skills, vocational and educational training, for approximately six months. During this time clients are re-entering school, looking for work and starting new jobs and paying rent accordingly.
The Chrysalis Community is SalusCare’s answer to permanent supportive housing, where residents can still see a case manager and get substance abuse counseling if and when they desire, for as long as they need. Adjacent to the Transitional campus, this looks like an overage suburban neighborhood, where rent is based on income, presumably to accommodate the sober job that might not be ideal in early recovery.
Clients in the adolescent residential program at the Vince Smith campus must be referred through the court system, school or a psychiatrist. The typical stay is three to four months, depending on the client. Days begin with a 6 am wake up and breakfast at 7. Groups start at 8:15 am and range from relapse prevention, addiction studies, family education, coping strategies, anger management and individual therapy. School studies are incorporated into the schedule in an attempt to keep clients from falling behind—classes are arranged on campus for grades from seven to 12. Parent group is one night a week, followed by a family session. Visits are allowed after two weeks at the discretion of the treatment staff.
The Vince Smith campus also provides outpatient therapy services for kids and families experiencing substance abuse or other behavioral related issues. Although each case is evaluated separately, frequency is typically twice a week, with mandatory family group and parent conference sessions once a week. If this isn’t enough, the Vince Campus has intensive outpatient care (IOP), where adolescents are onsite from 8 am to 9 pm. As with inpatient and outpatient, the IOP program mandates a weekly parent group and family conference.
This is comprehensive treatment in service to the recovery community; all ages, all levels, all price points. Family and dual diagnosis support, accessible programming and a full continuum of care make SalusCare an attractive option for South Florida residents and those willing to relocate. This kind of support from those with so much experience treating addiction and mental health issues could easily lead to long-term sobriety.
3763 Evans Ave
Fort Myers, FL 33901
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