Jan Millis’ Avalon Experience
My name is Jan Millis and I am the Direct Care Manager at Avalon Hills. I am a New Hampshire girl, born and raised. Lived in New England for 46 years! My husband and I moved with our family to Logan Utah on a wing and a prayer.
We had no relatives in Cache Valley, no job but know that we needed a change. We followed 2 of our younger children who were attending Utah State and landed in Logan Utah in August of 2011.
I am no stranger to eating disorders as my niece suffered and still does from bulimia. Watching her go through outpatient services, hospitalization, and in patient treatment, was very painful. It literally tore her family apart because she never got the treatment she deserved.
My Son is also suffering with bipolar and an eating disorder. He has struggled with self-harm, binge and purge as well as restricting behaviors since he was in 7th grade and he is now 23 years old.
It is not a fluke that we ended up in Logan Utah and it isn't by chance that I saw the ad in the newspaper looking for a Direct Care Manager for Avalon Hills Residential Treatment Centers just 2 short months after we arrived in our new home.
I have honestly not worked for a place like Avalon before. I am going to talk about the Direct Care Department. As direct care our "job" is to monitor the clients, keep them safe and symptom interruption.
Symptom interruption is one very vital thing that sets Avalon apart from other treatments centers. As staff, we are with the clients 24 hours a day. One example of symptom interruption happens at the table. Staff and clients eat all meals family style. Snacks are also eaten together. This is where we help the individual be aware of any behaviors that are present in the moment and provide redirection which helps the client recognize and start the journey of changing the behaviors.
The Direct Care Staff at Avalon take their roles in the client’s recovery very seriously. They work more closely with the clients than any other discipline and the impact they make on the clients is profound.
I love Treat to Outcome. It is amazing to spend so much time watching and participating in the transformation that takes place when a client is "allowed" the time necessary for them to sustain recovery. Avalon doesn't kick clients to the curb when they are weight restored. As a result, we are blessed to work through whatever the clients need to work on to recover. I have been thinking of how to explain the Avalon experience to someone who has never experienced it. It is difficult to describe but I think i have a way. Remember when you were in your Elementary school science class and your teacher brought in a cocoon? Not a caterpillar but just the cocoon. Picture a person coming to you so closed off that you thought they might break if you say the wrong thing to them....as you spend time together you see them start to open. The more vulnerable they are the more animated they become. What color will their wings be when they are brave enough to let others truly see them? I can hardly wait. If you are patient, loving and kind you will be there to see them spread their wings and fly back to their families and friends and life that has been waiting to embrace them.
That is how my Avalon Experience feels. I have never worked with more dedicated individuals. Once you start working for Avalon you are hooked!
I love my direct care peeps and I love everyone I work with. We are a team. A team of people who care beyond words.
- Jan Millis