What makes a good rehab?
Choosing a good rehabilitation clinic for yourself or a loved one is an important and difficult decision, often made at a difficult and confusing time in your life when emotions are high and timing is everything. However, it’s a decision akin to choosing the right person to look after your young child, in that you are entrusting something very delicate and vital to the care of others: your life, your future and the quality of both those things. Just like with every important life decision, it is one you need to make carefully after research and consideration. Don’t just go the first one you contact, but, instead, phone or email a number of different clinics and, where possible, even visit one or two.
Are Rehab and Detox the same?
A medical detox is often a preliminary step prior to rehab and although it is important to commence treatment as soon as possible, the two approaches are nonetheless different. Some medical addiction treatment centres, such as Serena House specialise in consultant-led, medical detox, but also commence the preliminary work towards longer term rehab either in the community or as part of a residential programme of care at another centre. A medical detox often requires specific levels of expertise that many rehabs do not have in place.
So what should you look for when making that choice?
The Top Seven Tips for Selecting Rehabilitation Clinics:
As strange as this may seem, first impressions count. When you email or telephone a clinic, make sure to ask about such things as cost, duration of treatment and the programme itself. The tone and detail of the response you receive will give you a strong indication of the care and professionalism you or your loved one will subsequently receive. A good clinic will respond to you as a person they care about, will be transparent and detailed about their pricing structure and will be keen to ‘show off’ their clinic. Certainly think twice about any clinic that seems at all reluctant to you visiting them or evasive in any of their answers. Upbeat and friendly is also a good sign.
If you get the chance to visit a clinic, open your mind and ears to the atmosphere of the place: Is it a place where the energy is positive and healing? Are people, including other patients, welcoming and enthusiastic. Does it feel warm as opposed to purely clinical? Is it your sort of place? During treatment, a person has to feel comfortable and ‘at home’ enough in their environment to feel safe enough to open up and take some risks. Also, look at how they clinic is being kept clean and well-maintained. Ask to see a bedroom as well as the common spaces. If they aren’t proud and conscientious about the clinic itself, then they are unlikely to act the same way with your care.
Buildings are important but the true quality of treatment is driven by the quality, openness and enthusiasm of the staff. Take time to talk to more than just the person who is showing you around and, where possible, speak to the manager. The manager’s approach and personality will be mimicked by the whole centre. This is a dynamic of all clinics I have worked in and visited. Make sure to ask about the qualifications of staff.
Although a good clinic has a wide range of qualifications amongst its staff, it should certainly have, among them, trained therapists, a doctor, a nurse and psychiatrists. Be wary of any clinic that relies too heavily on volunteers, over trained workers and also of any centre that says all the staff are ‘Recovery Coaches’, trainees or receive only in-house training.
You may also wish to check that the rehab centre is fully geared to provide family support.
Different people respond to different approaches and try to choose a clinic that does not operate a ‘one size fits all’ approach to treatment, such as if they only use the 12 step model or CBT. Both interventions are excellent for treating addiction but you want somewhere that is wide-ranging and flexible in their approach.
This may not be immediately apparent to the visitor, but can be gleaned by asking about how they measure outcomes and share information with one another. The best care is well co-ordinated and information is shared well, and securely, within the clinic itself and with the outside world. My experience is that when a clinic has good, strong, professional systems of safeguarding, care planning and risk management, this is an indication that they are serious and well-run.
Just as you would do when choosing a school, college, private doctor or even a hotel, spend some time online googling the name of the clinic to see what complaints or compliments appear on the web. It is certainly important to check the CQC (Care Quality Commission) website to look at their latest inspection report and any other information they have on the clinic. If the clinic is not registered on the CQC, then avoid it altogether.
And finally, although in treatment, like in most things, you get what you pay for, make sure that the clinic is within your budget. Don’t not ‘panic buy’ a rehab place, but ensure that is something you can afford, with savings left over. Nobody wants to start their new life in Recovery in debt.
NB There are also highly confidential and discrete residential detox units for time-sensitive clients who do not necessarily want prolonged stays in a rehab - for further information call 020 3582 4288.
The basic unit of all living organisms. Full medical glossary
An element present in haemoglobin in the red cells. Full medical glossary
A specialist in the management of mental health conditions. Full medical glossary
The treatment of a person with an illness or disability to improve their function and health. Full medical glossary