Photo credit: Depositphotos
By Steven Miranda
Drug and alcohol addiction is common in this country. 46 percent of Americans said they have a friend or family member who is addicted to drugs, in a survey by the Pew Research Center in 2017. That same year an article in The Washington Post reported that one in eight American adults had full-blown alcoholism. Since then, the rates of drug and alcohol abuse in the United States have only risen, in good part because of the pandemic.
There is good news though: Addiction treatment at a trusted rehab facility has helped countless individuals and families recover and go on to live healthy and happy lives. The key is finding quality treatment, and that makes knowing what to look for when touring a prospective facility very important. No two facilities are alike, and the quality of one treatment program can often drastically vary from that of another.
As someone whose job is to advise union members and their families regarding their mental health and addiction treatment options, I often lead facility tours and answer questions about what to look for in prospective rehab centers—starting with the physical features that house their services. What follow are five physical features to look for when touring the layout of a prospective rehab facility.
- Clean, spacious housing and accommodations – Many people entering rehab will be coming from opposite types of living situations. They may have been camping out in crowded, drug-infested apartments or filthy, abandoned buildings. They may have been homeless on the streets.
Clean, open spaces in bedrooms and shared common areas can provide a sense of safety and security, as well as a positive incentive to stay in treatment. When patients have room to move around without being on top of one another, that can promote the healing process. (This may be especially true during the first phase of treatment when patients are dealing with the mental, emotional, and physical symptoms of withdrawal as they adjust to a new environment.)
- A medical services building – A good rehab facility will have one or more medical buildings where patients can receive services like on-site lab work and instant access to X-rays. This way patients do not have to leave campus to receive these services. The medical services building is also usually where the medical team’s offices are.
- Both inpatient and outpatient housing – Why both inpatient and outpatient housing? Because it means the facility can provide a full continuum of care within the same location.
Inpatient living accommodations should be more hospital-like because they house the most intensive level of care, including a medically supervised detox. Outpatient living accommodations are typically more oriented to independent living. They often are apartment-style residences where a few patients live together in community.
- A cafeteria and menu offering a variety of tasty and nutritional foods – People who come to rehab typically have been neglecting their diet; meanwhile, drugs and alcohol deplete the body of vitamins and nutrients that are essential to healthy functioning.
A balanced, daily diet including fruits and vegetables is therefore critical to recovery. And nutritious food that tastes good is one more positive incentive to stay in treatment.
- A gym and wellness center – Exercise, like diet, can go a long way in supporting recovery. So can activities like yoga, work with a strength-and-conditioning coach, or water aerobics and lap swimming. (In the last case, water is therapeutic, so it may be worth checking that the facility has a pool or is near the beach.)
In addition to these five features, something as simple as the exterior look of the building can send an important message. Also, when you walk through the front door, notice whether there is someone there to greet you.
A quality rehab facility will have all these core features. Don’t settle for anything less.
Steven Miranda is National Director of Strategic Development for the national behavioral health provider FHE Health.
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