Do you or a loved one need addiction treatment for alcohol or drugs? It's easy to sign up too quickly for treatment, without a proper understanding what to look for.
Here's everything you need to know when buying rehab - including how to ask the right questions and weed out weaker options.
Step 1 - Needs .v. Wants
Having gone through months (years?) of denial, when we're ready for treatment, it's easy to rush ahead into the first detox provider you call. But spending just a little time getting clear on what you truly need, can save a costly mistake.
Detox-Only, Versus Full Rehabilitation Programme
Whilst most follow the conventional programme of detox, then rehab, then aftercare, it's possible to do only one of these. But is it right for you?
- Have you been detoxed before? (Be honest).
Be honest with yourself here, as going the detox-only route initially, when underlying work is truly needed, often ends in paying for treatment twice, not once.
Rehab In The Right Place
Thinking of treatment nearby? It's a natural response when feeling low.
Unless you're extremely unwell, consider anything up to 100 mile radius and focus instead on quality of care.
Detox beds can be found in hospitals, and virtually any clinic. But does their long term support match your needs in the longer term? Asking a few basics like these upfront can save a lot of headache later.
Making sure you're getting the right support, can have a serious impact on long term results.
Multiple previous detoxes, or challenging liver issues, should mean you're extra careful that the clinic can accommodate your needs, both safely, and comfortably.
Most clinics have standardised approaches for routine detoxes for alcohol etc, but anything more complex will need specialist input from suitably qualified professionals.
Likewise for therapeutic help, what specialist qualifications in addiction do the team have? Ask here about issues that have been sticking points for you in the past, and their suitability to help.
- How long should detox take, for me?
- Is dealing with someone with my intake level and addiction history, a normal everyday client for your clinic?
- Will I be able to speak with someone who decides about my detox regimen, once admitted to the clinic?
Step 2 - What Happens In Rehab?
What is day to day addiction treatment inside the clinic actually like?
Rehabilitation clinics operate a residential service - you stay residentially, in the clinic, 24hrs a day, usually with your own room and personal space.
Before admission, you should expect to complete an initial assessment over the phone with admissions staff, whose job it is to co-ordinate the information you provide with specialists inside the clinic, and ensure their facility can meet your needs.
The Plan For Treatment
Whilst all clinics operate a group environment generally, most should look to help you keep track of your progress, and monitor treatment goals reached.
This means a 'care plan' is drawn up, and agreed by you and your assigned care manager.
Be sure to take an active part in this, to avoid having standardised goals laid out, that don't match your preferences or personal situation. It's worth making the effort here.
- Do you provide a written plan for me to follow, during treatment?
- How do clinic staff know they're doing a good job at helping clients achieve recovery?
- What input do I have in planning my care?
- Am I passed from one staff member to another, as shifts change?
What's Rehab Treatment Like, Day To Day?
What is it like being in a rehab clinic?
It can be tricky to discern exactly what happens each day in treatment, as the routine can vary.
Since residential rehab is a group environment, most clinics provide each client with a daily agenda, every night for the following day. This agenda is a good guide to what happens each day and what you'll be involved in.
Factors such as previous detoxes, history of relapse, amount and duration of intake, and others, will determine how long the detox stage of treatment takes. Some will be ready to start therapeutic work after just a few days. Others may take 7 days or longer. This is normal.
Arranging a visit to the clinic, before committing any funding, can help reassure you of standards of care, and avoid a costly mistake. Ask about this.
- Do you have a virtual online tour I can take?
- What is the daily agenda of activities inside the clinic, and how soon after detox will I be expected to take part?
- Is it possible to arrange a pre-admission visit, to look around? Is there any charge attached?
- When would I be expected to move from detox into therapy in the clinic?
How Does Covid-19 Affect Rehab Centres?
Since rehab treatment is usually a communal environment, you should expect to have to accommodate others on the journey.
Those in long term recovery achieved it, only by accepting help from others, and helping them, in return.
But doing so safely, in the age of Covid-19, means ensuring the clinic you choose has provisions in place to guard against risk of infection.
Step 3 - What Budget Is Available For Treatment?
Whilst private clinics offer fast access to specialist help, financing the stay in treatment needs planning.
Public services are accountable to the tax payer, and seldom offer more specialist interventions.
As you can imagine, the cheapest provider is not always the best.
Cheap providers often involve minimal rooms or living conditions, and poor therapy. Look instead for smaller providers, with more personal attention.
Use this step to get a clear idea of what rough budget you can commit to treatment, ringing round a few providers for initial pricing if needed.
Other Ways To Get Help
12 step support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are usually available in most locations, although meetings have largely shifted towards online now, in the wake of covid issues.
For most at the start of the recovery journey though, detox options are a very real need, and not something that can be obtained without more specialist help.
Local mutual aid meetings *can* be a huge help, and can be a source of potential sponsors and sober mentors for the future. But the first stage of help - physically detoxing - will need more specialist care.
NHS/Public Funding Options
Whilst the NHS do have addiction keyworkers in different regions, they’re normally overrun with enquiries and demand on resources, meaning obtaining funding for a rehab stay is unlikely.
Eligibility for short term detox is slim, and is usually restricted to only a handful of cases.
Families and friends often agree to jointly finance private treatment, in cases where no publicly funded options are available.
Step 4 - Get Independent Reviews
Review platforms are widespread nowadays and some reviews are not always trustworthy.
In these situations we need an independent and impartial regulator's opinion - in this case, The Care Quality Commission (CQC) for England and Wales, and The Care Inspectorate, for Scotland.
The CQC and The Care Inspectorate are the industry regulators, and complete routine inspections of private rehabs, which are often classified under the 'Care Homes' category, in their records.
Clinics are reviewed on quality and expertise of their service, staff, and care levels provided.
Regulatory Inspections - Keynotes
On paper, a visit by regulators to a clinic can be "Announced", or "Unannounced" - the former means the clinic knew about the inspection in advance, the latter means they didn't. Hence, "Unannounced" inspection reports are more likely to provide a real-world picture of clinic conditions and service levels.
Step 5 - Arrange Admission
At this point, you've got enough info to decide on one of the clinics you've seen.
It's not uncommon at this point, for the provider to take you a through a number of pre-admission questions, as they have to ensure your suitable for the clinic and its environment.
You can normally complete the necessary steps over the phone in 20 minutes or less, and then make an initial deposit towards treatment, that's used to hold the room in your name, until you arrive at the clinic.
Take the opportunity at this point to arrange payment via insurance policy, if applicable.
Step 6 - Funding Your Stay
As mentioned above, paying a deposit means the clinic can prepare for your arrival, and allocate your room booking.
Depending on total costs, your deposit could be anywhere from £500 - £3,000 or more.
You won't find many clinics offering payment options directly, unfortunately.
Be sure to get a written confirmation of receipt for your deposit, and confirm with the provider any admin fees due, in the event of admission delays, or even cancellation, due to unforeseen circumstances.
The Remaining Funding
Clinics will normally expect payment of the remaining balance of treatment, upon arrival and admission to the clinic, so be prepared to make a payment at this time.
To avoid excess charges later, it's best to settle this on time.
Step 7 - Admission Into Treatment
By now, you should have an agreed time and date of arrival at a clinic.
You'll usually be asked to bring certain essentials with you:
Rules re mobile phone and device usage varies from clinic to clinic - it's worth checking before you set off - how many devices are allowed, and what the internet usage policy is. Many clinics have a restricted use policy, to keep clients on track.
Most clinics have a busy schedule and making sure you arrive on time is important. Getting your means of transport to the clinic organised ahead of time, will ensure things are effortless, on the day.
From this point on, your recovery journey has begun!
Print Our Cheatsheet To Easily Compare Providers
You've reached the end of our ultimate guide on finding the right rehab!
Our printable cheatsheet lays out the exact questions to ask, in a printable PDF format.
Get direct download access here.
Thanks so much for reading our buyer's guide.
Help for addiction is available at Abbeycare's UK clinics.
We've helped thousands overcome their addiction to alcohol or drugs.
There's no substitute for the years of experience we've had, assisting with even the most complex cases.
Even if you're not local, we can still help with transport into treatment (full transparency - some costs do apply).
Our admissions team can advise on what options are available.
The Abbeycare medical team can help you detox comfortably.
The Abbeycare therapy team are specialists in helping you identify and work through the underlying triggers behind addiction.
Our clinic team are ready to help you get started.
The only thing left is - are you ready?
If you're ready for help, call our admissions team direct, on 01603 513 091.