Dear Community Member,

As we focus collectively on the threat of the COVID-19 coronavirus, I want to assure you that the Brattleboro Retreat is taking numerous steps to safeguard the health of our patients, staff, and community.

At the same time, we are remaining focused on our core mission to provide quality mental health and addiction services. With the few exceptions listed below, we are continuing to accept admissions across many of our programs.

I also want to take this opportunity to inform you about specific actions we’re taking here at the Retreat to limit or prevent the Coronavirus from spreading on our campus. I’d also like to remind you of some simple steps you can take to protect yourself, your loved ones, and the community as a whole.

What is the Retreat Doing in Response to the COVID-19 Outbreak?

In addition to adopting the most up-to-date recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as the most relevant local recommendations from the Vermont Department of Health (VDH), the Retreat has:

  • Posted signage on all entry ways instructing people who are ill or experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 not to enter the hospital.
  • Suspended visitation on all inpatient units, child, and adolescent inpatient units.
  • Increased our cleaning and disinfection protocols in all public and clinical spaces.
  • Stocked our hand hygiene stations with gloves, masks, and hand sanitizers.
  • Closed all our on-site school programs until April 6th per order of the state of Vermont.
  • Temporarily closed all outpatient programs that involve face-to-face group counseling
  • Instituted screening protocols for clients receiving one-on-one counseling
  • Instructed outpatient clinicians to maintain contact with certain clients through Zoom feeds and telephone calls
  • Made temporary arrangements to ensure that clients requiring daily on-site medication dosing can continue therapy with fewer visits to our campus  
  • Posted a new page on our website listing steps we are taking to limit the transmission of COVID-19
  • Instituted measures to for physical distancing on our campus, i.e., telecommuting for certain non-direct-care staff, limited staff movement between buildings, closed our campus cafe, closed our employee fitness center, and restricted cafeteria access to outpatients and direct-care staff only.
  • Initiated COVID-19 screening protocols for all potential inpatient admissions.
  • Suspended all inpatient self-referrals (meaning all referrals must come through a patient's care provider or an emergency department)
  • Canceled all non-essential meetings in our Education Conference Center, including those sponsored by external organizations and agencies.
  • Cancelled our 2020 Spring Continuing Education Conference series at venues here in Brattleboro and in Agawam, MA
Here are some effective measures you can take to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community from COVID-19:

In addition to the practical steps listed below, I ask that you and your loved ones pay attention to your stress levels and take healthy steps to manage feelings of anxiety and loneliness caused by this extraordinary pandemic.

Consider limiting your exposure to the news, and try to enjoy physical activities that allow you to keep a safe distance from others—walking or running in your neighborhood, doing spring cleanup in your yard, riding a bike, etc. And don’t forget that limiting or eliminating alcohol while enjoying a diet high in foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meats, etc., can help you maintain a positive mood. In addition:

  • Avoid contact with any person who has tested positive or who has come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds. If you do not have access to soap and water, use an antibacterial hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid travel when possible, especially travel to places that have known outbreaks of COVID-19. The CDC website provides up-to-date information on the spread of COVID-19 throughout the country and the rest of the world.
  • Refrain from touching your face. 
  • If you need to cough or sneeze, use a tissue or the crook of your elbow.
  • Instead of shaking hands, hugging, or other greetings that require physical contact, consider an elbow bump, a wave, or another no-contact way of saying hello to the people around you.
  • Avoid groups, especially if you are an older adult or have an underlying health condition.
  • If you develop a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider about next steps--do not go directly to your nearest healthcare provider or clinic without calling ahead.

And last, I urge you to DEPEND EXCLUSIVELY ON RELIABLE INFORMATION from these reputable sources:

Louis Josephson, Ph.D.
President and Chief Executive Officer

(Updated 3/27/2020)