Know the difference between a “sober home” which are also called transitional living or halfway houses. These places are simply housing which are typically apartments, houses or group style living residences. No treatment, group therapy or urine testing of any kind should be rendered here. These residences are typically designed to be affordable housing while the client participates in group, individual and family therapy sessions called Intensive Outpatient (IOP) at the actual treatment facility. This is usually 3-4 hours a day, 3-4 days per week. The housing is affordable because most residences place two roommates in a room, keeping the rent cost lower.
A treatment facility must be licensed through the Department of Children and Family Services (DCF). The levels of care commonly range from inpatient, detox, residential, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient (IOP) and outpatient (OP). Not all treatment centers specialize in a specific level of care. Because treatment facilities offer a higher level of care which requires more programming and oversight than just an outpatient doctor’s visit, that is why DCF does a site inspection to make sure the facility is compliant to their standards of care, in which case licensure and certification is required. A facility is also required to have a Medical Director whom must have either D.O. or M.D. credentials. The certification should be visible in common areas like lobbies or waiting rooms, and you can certainly ask for a copy of the license.
Can the facility treat the issues the client is going through? Make sure that depending on the client’s diagnosis, they are at a place that treats their condition. For example, a person who suffers from bi-polar disorder who may be stabilized on medication, may need to admit to a facility that specializes in Mental Health disorders as a primary diagnosis, not secondary. This person may also suffer from alcohol or opiate addiction, but this might be a secondary diagnosis. It’s best to have the client speak to a licensed counselor on the phone for a pre-assessment to determine their medical and/or behavioral health needs. Once they physically admit, additional in-person tests and assessments will be done making sure they fit criteria and that the facility can treat their condition in one of their designated programs.
Make sure the facility is accredited through either Joint Commission (JCAHO) or Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). Both organizations provide accreditation services at the request of health and human service providers. These typically include rehabilitation facilities, treatment for addiction and substance abuse, home and community services, senior and retirement living. If the facility you are researching is accredited, then you know they took the extra step to meet a set of standards and have demonstrated their commitment to being among the best available. These organizations help strengthen patient safety efforts and improves risk management and risk reduction. For example, Joint Commission standards focus on state-of-the-art performance improvement strategies that help health care organizations continuously improve the safety and quality of care which can reduce the risk. They also provide professional advice and counsel, enhancing staff education and a framework for organizational structure and management among many other valuable tools.
Research the facility’s reputation. Are their Google, Facebook and other online reviews consistent? It’s important to investigate a facility online by doing a quick Google, Bing or Yahoo search. You can get a good idea of how responsive their staff is by filling out a form online or emailing a question. A good indicator of strong customer service is to make sure you are receiving information timely and the information is accurate.