Questions To Ask Before Choosing a Residential Treatment Program

Considering inpatient addiction treatment for yourself or a loved one? Read this primer on what you need to ask — and know — first

February 20, 2022
Phone with a question mark on the screen

Considering inpatient treatment and taking the first step to address substance use concerns is a giant leap for those who seek a sober future. At the same time, these initial steps towards sober living can include feelings of anxiety, fear and uncertainty, especially if this is the first time someone is attending inpatient treatment. To reduce fears and confusion, and to help make the decision process manageable, we recommend asking the following questions when assessing inpatient treatment centers.

Do they take my insurance?

Before starting the search process, call your insurance provider to see whether the plan covers addiction treatment services and related expenses as part of the residential treatment program. Understand what percentage of treatment expenses are fully covered and if there are co-pay requirements depending on total program cost. After understanding what insurance does and does not cover for a residential treatment program, create a budget to understand what your total out-of-pocket expenditures will be.

In addition, contact the facility to understand what insurance plans they accept. Ask questions to determine if the treatment center will work with your health insurance provider to reach agreements on coverage and financing options.

Is detoxification part of the treatment services?

The detoxification process from substances, also known as substance use disorder, may have medical implications, and withdrawal symptoms can be severe and uncomfortable. Ask the inpatient treatment center if there are trained medical staff to work with you through the withdrawal period. Some treatment centers require a certain period of sobriety prior to entering a program.

Is the treatment center licensed and accredited?

Make sure the facility is licensed and accredited. This means that the company has been reviewed by healthcare boards and upholds standards of care at a higher level. Be sure to also check out the credentials of key staff; this can help you better understand the level of care one can expect to receive. Finally, ask about the patient-to-staff ratio. A lower ratio typically means a higher level of care and attention.

How long is the treatment program?

Most programs vary in length from two weeks to one month. There are also extended programs that last multiple months. Recommendations for the length of stay are determined after the intake assessment and are based on the needs of each individual.

Does the treatment center offer personalized programs?

Be sure to ask about the overall structure and guiding philosophy of the course of treatment. In addition, find out if the treatment facility offers tracks or specialized support that focuses on issues such as co-occurring mental health conditions, physical issues or spiritual health.

What kind of support is offered to families?

Substance use disorder affects families, in addition to the individual with the substance use disorder. Find out if the treatment center offers family support and education services. Also inquire about the facility’s family visitation policy. Family programs are a critical element in long-term sobriety, as they create healthy support systems for the recovering individual.

What ongoing support and aftercare is available?

Once the treatment program is completed, what kind of support will one receive? Are there monitoring or follow-up resources available? Is there digital support, alumni groups or comprehensive aftercare planning? Also, ask about options in continuing care and sober living. Planning for life after inpatient treatment is critical in helping the newly sober person adapt and thrive in everyday life.

What is the right answer for each individual? There is no one-size-fits-all approach, but doing research and asking detailed questions will help each person find the best option that suits their specific needs for short-term and long-term recovery and sobriety.

Visit the comprehensive All Sober Treatment and Recovery section to explore available treatment opportunities.

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