Choosing a Drug Rehab for Your Loved One

The process of choosing a drug rehab program for your loved one is often difficult. Typically, everyone involved feels as though they are in crisis mode and that decisions must be made quickly. Frequently, parents and care takers of drug or alcohol dependent persons are not knowledgeable about drug rehab programs e.g. the different methods of rehabilitation used, the length of treatment, follow up care, drug-free vs. medically assisted, etc. Understanding what type of treatment options are out there will make a significant difference in whether the program your loved one attends is going to be the right fit, length and intensity for their recovery needs. When substance abuse has become an integral aspect of your loved one’s life, time is essential, and you must quickly educate yourself about drug rehabilitation programs. The fastest way to do this is to read the information the facilities provide, and then know what questions to ask when you contact these facilities.

Questions to ask when speaking with various drug rehab programs include:

Is the facility accredited?

This is not a requirement for rehabilitation facilities, but it is a good sign that your loved one will receive excellent care. The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations are independent organizations, which are not affiliated with any rehab facility, and which serve as intermediaries for quality control. A facility that is accredited has made quality care and service a priority.

Does the facility specialize in drug and alcohol abuse rehabilitation?

These programs provide a complete environment for recovery; everything from the physical set-up of the buildings and grounds, to specialized training of the staff members working in the field of substance abuse rehabilitation. They not only understand the process of withdrawal and recovery, but are also trained in physical needs, such as nutrition, skin care, hygiene, eating problems, and sleeping habits. The psychologists are specifically trained in the treatment of addicts and addictive personalities, and thoroughly understand the challenges facing a patient with an innate addictive personality trait.

Does the drug rehab provide a variety of programs and care?

Addiction is a problem that progresses with predictable stages and their accompanying needs. As the patient moves through the stages of recovery, the facility must be able to offer a variety of different treatments to meet these individual needs. The staff at the facility should be able to make an informed decision as the program participant progresses through their program about the appropriate treatment. These decisions are based on observation, input from the program participant and family, interaction with other patients, and indications of the ability to return to the outside world while maintaining sobriety.

Has the facility demonstrated success in the specific treatment of substance abuse?

This is where research is imperative, because the facility itself will always sing its own praises. When a facility tells you they have an 80% success rate, ask them how they came to that figure, and then ask to see their research. If at all possible, speak to some of the other families whose loved one’s have gone through the program. Get as much information as possible, which includes touring the facility and observing the program participants and staff in a typical setting.

Are there adequate medical personnel accessible in case of illness, accidents, or complications?

All inpatient facilities should have on-staff medical emergency care. The facility should have an arrangement with a nearby acute care hospital in case a patient must be transferred. The facility should have a staff of multiple persons trained in various specialties who are available for consultation and medical attention.

To what degree is the family involved in the treatment plan in the facility?

Drug abuse and alcoholism have a profound effect on the entire family. Sometimes, the interactions of family members may figure strongly in the substance abuse problem of the patient in the rehab facility. Family involvement is an important part of the recovery process. Find out to what extent family members are involved and in what capacity. Ask if there is a family therapy program, and if information is available for the family when the patient returns home.

What is the success rate of patients maintaining sobriety once they return home?

The goal of the best rehab programs is to return the patient to their home with the ability to function independently in their lives. Find out what their discharge plan is and how much the family is involved in this planning. It is also important to find out what role the facility has and what action it will take if it is discovered that your loved one has had a relapse after being discharged.

How much does a drug rehab facility cost?

Even though your loved one is in crisis, there are always financial limitations within a family. The fee is often broken down in different formats, so ask what services are included and which will be added as additional fee-for-service programs. Then find out which services your health insurance carrier will cover. Once you have this information, meet with the staff at the facility, particularly any personnel who will be handling your loved one’s case exclusively, and find out which programs they believe are mandatory. Keep in mind that the success of a rehab program depends of the quality and thoroughness of its treatment.

Does the facility offer follow–up and continuing care after your loved one has returned home?

Substance abuse is a long-term problem, and recovery is a continuing process. The skills learned in the rehab facility must be transferred into everyday life. Find out if the facility offers a follow-up program, and if that program is close to where the family resides. This program should provide a professional in the field of substance abuse who will monitor and support your loved one’s recovery.

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