10 Tips for Gauging the Quality of an Inpatient Rehab Program, from an Expert in the Field
When you’re suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction and/or another serious mental health condition, quality inpatient treatment is often critical to recovery. But finding quality inpatient treatment isn’t always easy in an industry that has at times been prone to scams. A case in point: a recent story on NPR described how some addiction treatment clinics are claiming that nutritional IV infusions (or “NAD infusions”) can cure cravings and addiction. The news is the latest in a string of reports in recent years revealing how some rehab facilities have preyed on and profited from individuals’ and families’ desperate hopes for a cure.
How, then, do you protect yourself from scams when you’re looking for an inpatient rehab program? These 10 tips for gauging the quality of a prospective rehab provider and their inpatient programs helps to answer that question:
1. Consult a medical or clinical professional for their advice. Often a doctor or therapist will have already done much of the vetting of potential referral partners and can provide you with a referral list that you can rely on. Prospective rehab providers that appear on a list of this kind can generally be trusted. As for prospective rehab providers that do not appear on a list of this kind, consider contacting the referring doctor or therapist for their insights. If they have never heard of the provider, more research into the provider’s history, reputation, and treatment programs is an absolute must.
2. Check that the rehab provider is fully licensed and accredited by state and federal governing bodies. Accreditation by the federal Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Health Care Organization (JOINT) or The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) is crucial. So is licensure by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for Opioid Treatment Programs. (This license qualifies a facility to store and administer opioid treatment medications on-site.)
Check also that the facility is licensed and accredited by its state healthcare governing body or agencies. For instance, in Florida, the Agency for Healthcare Accreditation, Florida Division of Substance Use and Mental Health (DCF), and the Department of Health enact rigorous quality-of-care standards that healthcare providers must abide by if they are to receive licensure and/or certification.
3. Look for a strong multidisciplinary program that employs a “collaborative care model” to inpatient care. Research by Harvard’s Kennedy Forum has demonstrated that the integration of medical, psychiatric, clinical, and holistic interventions is associated with better treatment outcomes. Well-integrated care can only happen when a multidisciplinary team of professionals (doctors, psychiatrists, therapists, and other care professionals) is in place to meet regularly to discuss, evaluate and tweak inpatient plans of care.
When vetting any facility, ask them if they have a multidisciplinary team and practice integrated/ collaborative care. Any treatment program worth attending should be utilizing this approach.
A strong multidisciplinary program will also employ science-based interventions, such as neuro therapies and evidence-based psychotherapies. For example, neuro-rehabilitative services and psychological testing can better customize individualized plans of care and provide an empirical measure of patients’ progress in treatment. These neuro therapies should be administered alongside group and individual clinical interventions that need to be well-worth your time (as in proven to boost recovery outcomes).