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Increased Precautions We're Taking in Response to the Coronavirus
As updates on the impact of the coronavirus continue to be released, we want to take a moment to inform you of the heightened preventative measures we have put in place at Structure House to keep our patients, their families, and our employees safe. All efforts are guided by and in adherence to the recommendations distributed by the CDC.

Please note that for the safety of our patients, their families, and our staff, on-site visitation is no longer allowed at Structure House.

  • This restriction has been implemented in compliance with updated corporate and state regulations to further reduce the risks associated with COVID-19.
  • We are offering visitation through telehealth services so that our patients can remain connected to their loved ones.
  • Alternate methods of communication for other services are being vetted and may be offered when deemed clinically appropriate.

For specific information regarding these changes and limitations, please contact us directly.

CDC updates are consistently monitored to ensure that all guidance followed is based on the latest information released.

  • All staff has received infection prevention and control training.
  • Thorough disinfection and hygiene guidance has been provided.
  • Patient care supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer are being monitored and utilized.
  • Temperature and symptom screening protocols are in place for all patients and staff.
  • Social distancing strategies have been implemented to ensure that patients and staff maintain proper distance from one another at all times.
  • Cleaning service contracts have been reviewed for additional support.
  • Personal protective equipment items are routinely checked to ensure proper and secure storage.
  • CDC informational posters are on display to provide important reminders on proper infection prevention procedures.
  • We are in communication with our local health department to receive important community-specific updates.

The safety of our patients, their families, and our employees is our top priority, and we will remain steadfast in our efforts to reduce any risk associated with COVID-19.

The CDC has provided a list of easy tips that can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

For detailed information on COVID-19, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Healthy Living Blog

Weight Loss Treatment Can Be a Silver Lining Amid Pandemic

One common headline during the COVID-19 pandemic relates to how obesity is a significant risk factor for suffering complications of the illness.

Currently, scientists believe that the virus binds to fat cells. Using that logic, the more fat cells a person has, the more likely they are both to contract the disease and to have difficulty fighting it. Therefore, many people who struggle with obesity have found yet another motivator to address their overeating and sedentary behaviors.

At Structure House, participants certainly shed fat, which heightens their ability to combat the illness. More importantly, however, they learn the skills and strategies to end the vicious cycle of emotional eating that has likely led to a lifetime of struggles with weight.

Since March, our planet has engaged in social distancing efforts to slow the spread of the illness. One result is that many people have found themselves with more time on their hands as they stay in their homes for days and weeks on end.

Structure House teaches participants that the three main contributors of overeating are stress, habit, and boredom. Understandably, many have faced all three of these challenges during periods of self-isolation. Stress can manifest itself as depression, anxiety, loneliness, fear, and general malaise. Bad habits — eating in front of the television, relaxing with a bowl of ice cream, or snacking on foods laying out on the kitchen counter — are hard to avoid when one is homebound. Boredom, even when the day is filled with “to-dos” but relatively few “want-tos,” can set in, and food is a way to get a few moments of escape, pleasure, or diversion. It is no wonder that people have gained weight during this period.

For more than 40 years, Structure House has taught its participants how to deal with the concerns that inevitably lead to overeating. For stress, progressive muscle relaxation, visualization, and breathing techniques have been shown to decrease both the physiological and psychological correlates of the stress response, and participants gain proficiency in utilizing these during their stay. With regard to habit, there is nothing quite like residential treatment, where a participant leaves their usual surroundings and practices healthier habits that feel like the new normal by the time they leave campus. Finally, dealing with boredom often involves looking holistically at life to assess whether a person might find more meaning, more fulfillment, and more satisfaction. Structure House’s therapy staff helps participants grow in ways they never dreamed possible.

In short, a visit to Structure House is an excellent way to take control amid the chaos. Losing those virus-loving fat cells while learning strategies to combat the forces that lead to overeating packs a double punch in improving chances to overcome the illness.

For some, the virus was the wake-up call they needed to finally take back the power and change their lives for the healthier.

About Katie Rickel, PhD

Dr. Katie Rickel graduated summa cum laude from Duke University with a Bachelor of Science in psychology and earned a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Florida. She completed an APA-accredited clinical internship in health psychology at Duke University Medical Center, with advanced training in behavioral and bariatric obesity treatment as well as the psychological management of chronic pain and illness. Dr. Rickel also has expertise in treating anxiety disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder and specific phobias. Her research has been presented at various professional conferences and published in scientific journals. Dr. Rickel has also appeared on “The Dr. Oz Show” and has been quoted in several popular media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Health magazine, Yahoo! Health, Women’s Health magazine, Weight Watchers magazine, and abcnews.com.

View all posts by Katie Rickel, PhD