Avalon Hills was a Godsend to our family and gave our daughter a fighting chance against the Eating Disorder
We became aware of our daughter’s Eating Disorder when she was a freshman in high school. At that time we knew nothing about ED’s. Over the next four years we worked to find effective treatment team members. Still, the ED tightened its grip and deepened it’s roots. During high school she was hospitalized twice for low heart rate, bradycardia and tachycardia. She was then admitted to a day treatment program. However as the restricting weight loss continued it became clear that she would need residential treatment after high school graduation. She was admitted to a well known treatment center in Colorado. After just six weeks insurance denied coverage. We were forced to self pay the remaining three weeks. She was discharged to a day treatment center in our home town. The insurance company once again denied continued coverage. The combined treatment wasn’t effective enough or long enough to give her a fighting chance in recovery.
She quickly relapsed and eventually was hospitalized again. As we desperately searched for a more effective treatment facility, we learned of Avalon Hills. The program itself and personal attention by staff sold us. While learning about and considering Avalon Hills we had questions about the nutritional aspects of the program. The lead dietitian, who was on vacation at the time, called us and our home dietitian from her personal cell phone to address our questions and concerns. Likewise, the financial coordinator talked to us after hours on several occasions helping us navigate through financial and insurance related issues.
The Avalon Hills philosophy “Treat to outcome” is evident and employees walk the talk.
Each person at Avalon genuinely cares and is devoted to this mission. It’s what sets Avalon apart from other ED treatment centers. Treatment for each client is individualized toward sustainable recovery and is assessed weekly by the treatment team. To maintain treatment, Avalon Hills fights insurance companies for their client’s coverage. Once our daughter was admitted, another psychologist specializing in insurance issues, talked with us after hours advocating for us for insurance coverage. Additionally, Avalon worked with our financial needs. Without this accommodation, we would not have been able to provide our daughter with the treatment she so desperately needed.
What set Avalon apart for our family
Setting: Both the adult and adolescent facilities are each located in a home environment in beautiful rural Utah. The 12 bed adult home provided a safe and personal atmosphere for our daughter which was reassuring to us as parents.
Program activities: Both adult and adolescent homes are close to Logan and Utah State University giving access to yoga, Zumba, swimming, self defense, strength training, and skiing. As an animal lover, the unique equine program was especially important to our daughter.
Relapse prevention program: Avalon employs a series of passes which were critical in assessing our daughter’s status in recovery and readiness to discharge. First, the Logan pass (in which the client joins her family for a weekend in Logan), then a 1 week home pass, then a 2 week home pass. After each pass, along with family input, the treatment team evaluated what went well and what challenges still existed. Then they targeted the needed areas.
Advanced treatment modalities: In addition to traditional cognitive behavioral therapy, Avalon partners with neuroscientists bringing additional modalities to the treatment and recovery process.
Family support and involvement: The Avalon treatment team partners with parents/spouses. We had weekly family sessions with our daughter’s therapist. When needed, we felt free to email or call treatment team members with questions or concerns.
Family week: After 4 + years living with the ED in our family we felt very knowledgeable. However Family Week provided new insights and understanding. Attended by both clients and their family members, Family Week offered a wealth of information and experiences, including renowned neuroscience speakers, and Avalon ‘alumni’ and alumni parents regarding recovery.
Client academic education: An education coordinator is on staff to assist students in both the adolescent and adult homes in continuing their education when deemed appropriate by the treatment team. Our daughter was able to take a college class through BYU distance learning.
No cell phone use and limited internet access for clients: My husband and I did not realize pro-ED websites exist that promote ED behaviors i.e.: how to cheat the doctor’s scales. Removing web access minimizes exposure to the unhealthy “thin ideal” images which are counter to recovery during the initial phases of treatment.
Avalon Hills provided the treatment expertise, programming, setting and caring personnel that our daughter desperately needed. I highly recommend Avalon Hills to any family struggling with this devastating disease.
Mary H., parent