The more research you can do, the more assured you can be that your choice is the right one. Some rehabs will not suggest these methods of research, because many are oriented toward getting a person into their program, rather than giving you ways to rule out a program. Below are some ways you can research a rehab program.
Ways to research a rehab facility
- Visit the applicable state agency website and check for licensing and inspection reports to make sure the facility has a license and find out about any complaints that have been made. If this information is not available online, call them and ask. We have a list of state agencies that license drug and alcohol rehab facilities for your reference.
- Check the credentials of any program and the credentials of the staff. Some of the credentials being touted after people’s names are not worth the paper they’re printed on, and some addiction “professionals” are outright lying about their qualifications.
Questions to ask
By asking the right questions, you can compare the programs you’re considering. You could even make a comparison chart using a spreadsheet program so you can sort the information you gather. Be sure to include any links you found the rehab at, so you can find it again if you need to. Or if you prefer, consider making a paper list for each program you’re considering so you can lay them out and compare them. Ask the person you speak with to elaborate on any of these questions. Ask them to be patient while you make notes on the answers you receive. If they’re not willing to be patient when answering your questions, how patient will they be once they have your money?
- What does the program entail?
- Is the treatment evidence based?
- Is the treatment customized to each individual?
- How long will the program last?
- Is there an aftercare program? If so, what does it consist of?
- Who are the key staff members and what are their qualifications?
- If any staff members are ex-users, how long have they been clean? How long has it been since they completed any programs?
- Who is the the program director and medical director?
- What happens in case of a relapse?
- What is the policy with regard to refunds if you are dissatisfied or don’t complete the program?
- What is the policy is with regard to employment of counselors and other staff members?
- How are medical issues or existing medical conditions dealt with or accommodated?
- Are there medically licensed professionals onsite? What are their qualifications and what is their field of expertise? What are their hours of availability?
- What credentials or education do non-medical staff members have, and how do they use this in the program?
- Are family members allowed to visit or have contact with the person in treatment? When, and under what circumstances?
- Are you allowed to tour the facility first before signing anything?
Other sites offer more suggestions on questions to ask, and we recommend you ask all the questions you need to help you make your choice and be comfortable with it. Do not stop asking questions until you are comfortable. If it takes too many questions for you to feel comfortable, start looking elsewhere.
Legitimate rehabs will not mind you asking a lot of questions because they understand what an important decision you are making. If a rehab tries to rush you, either by using hard sell tactics, or brushing your questions off as unimportant, you will do better looking elsewhere. If they don’t have the time or patience to answer all of your questions, will they have the time or patience to properly care for a person in rehab?
Below are some other sites that also offer advice on choosing a rehab.
- HBO (Home Box Office) in conjunction with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation offers advice on How Can I Find Good Treatment? as part of a comprehensive site on addiction. If you have time to read it all, it is highly recommended.
- The Justin Foundation has a good list of questions to ask in How to Pick a Treatment Facility: Research, Question and Confirm.
- Helpguide.org, a non-profit organization that offers ad-free information on health care presents, Choosing a Drug Treatment Program – What to Look for in Drug Rehab
- aboutrehabs.com-Questions to Ask Each Rehab Facility: The owner of this site went through the process of finding a rehab for a loved one and found the experience frustrating, and now has the goal of helping others to avoid the same grueling, sales-ridden experience they did.
- Choosing the right addiction treatment center from everydayhealth.com
- This Treatment Guide from The Partnership at Drugfree.org is intended primarily for parents of children and young adults, but contains some very good background information on addiction and treatment, which will help you come up with more questions of your own.
- This is a printable Checklist of Questions to Ask Treatment Programs and Staff from The Partnership at Drugfree.org. Some questions have explanations of why they are good questions to ask.
- Seeking Drug Abuse Treatment: Know What To Ask from the U.S. government’s National Institute on Drug Abuse lists five questions to ask when searching, and expounds on the answers.
- Ask for advice on some of the discussion forums that specialize in addiction and treatment.