Caring For the Whole Patient

Caring For the Whole Patient

Caring For the Whole Patient

“We can no longer treat physical injuries and substance use disorders as islands.”

When Gregory Alger came to Worcester Rehabilitation and Health Care Center, he was recovering from a fall that left him blind, unable to walk and talk. These physical injuries were challenging enough, but Greg needed additional care. He also was in recovery from a substance use disorder.

At Worcester Rehabilitation & Health Care Center, and across all Athena Health Care centers, we believe in treating both.

We are in the midst of an opioid crisis that has impacted far too many people like Greg and far too many families. We can no longer treat physical injuries and substance use disorders as islands unto themselves. We must treat the whole patient.

At Athena, that is our commitment to our residents and our communities.

So what does that commitment mean?

First, we do not deny care to people recovering from Substance Use Disorder (SUD). We have heard repeatedly from our hospital partners that they have difficulty placing SUD patients  in need of rehabilitation services for physical injuries. One such partner at UMass Memorial in Worcester called the placement of these patients an “excruciating problem.” At Athena, we are filling that care gap.

Second, we are offering innovative solutions to provide the highest quality treatment. We are the only group of skilled nursing centers with trained substance use counselors on staff and on-site. We partner with drug treatment centers to train all our staff about the unique needs of SUD patients. And we offer free transportation services to those in need of out-patient SUD treatments which cannot be provided on-site.

Whether patients are receiving rehabilitation or long-term care, Athena is committed to ensuring that all our residents receive the highest-quality, individualized treatment to meet all of their needs.

We are proud to say that Greg Alger has made significant progress recovering from his injuries. He also remains on track with his substance use recovery.

Patients like Greg inspire us every day. They are why we do what we do.

It’s why we are so committed to treating the full needs of our patients  – it’s the best way to help them in their recovery and combat the addiction crisis that impacts us all.


Larry Santilli is CEO of Athena Health Care Systems.

February 12, 2020 A Healthier Approach To Caring