Every member of the Palm Healthcare Family, from the administrators behind the scenes to those on the front lines along with a dedicated clinical team, are committed to helping support and educate anyone looking for help when struggling with a substance use disorder. Given the recent issues facing the nation, including the addiction crisis and the concern for ensuring safe and effective treatment, our clinical staff has chosen to speak to everyone out there looking for answers in their own words, hoping to shine new light on some difficult conversations.
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“What is the Difference Between Helping and Hurting”
Here we have some crucial information from Janice Hemmer, Tischler LCSW, ACSW, CAC who is the Senior Program Director of Palm Healthcare, with 21 years experience in the field of addiction.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Nearly every day, you can find an article in the media or online that discusses the addiction epidemic facing the United States and the state of drug and alcohol treatment today. Stories of patients being taken advantage of by unseemly “Sober Homes” and news reports of overdoses are rampant. To some degree, it is a good thing that the media is shining a light on this insidious problem. After all, people who only want to make a quick buck by manipulating those in dire need of help are out there in force. We do need to make sure that the issue is addressed and we should never stop trying to force these criminals out of the system. However, are media outlets and sensationalism scaring people away from the professional and reputable treatment programs that produce real long lasting results?
It is vital to remember that addiction is a neuro-biological disease. Addicts need professional medical intervention and psychotherapy to address the true causes of their addiction. It is incumbent upon the professionals in the treatment community, and the media, to educate and inform people about how to properly vet a treatment facility or program. To that end, the remainder of this article will focus on what patients and their families need to know to get their addicted loved one into an effective treatment program.
Here are some important questions you should ask about any treatment program, along with the answers you should be looking for.
Level of Credibility
What credentials does the program have?
Your state requires that addiction treatment programs be licensed, it is important to check with the state about the current validation of any license. Additionally, organizations such as “The Joint Commission” and “Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities” or CARF ongoingly audit treatment programs to ensure that they are meeting the highest possible standards.
Content of programming: What theoretical models of treatment do they follow?
There are a variety of treatment modalities available to behavioral health professionals. These can include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trauma Therapy, Treatment of Co-Occurring Disorders, Life Skills and many others. A reputable program will design a treatment regimen that is suited to your specific issues.
Level of Transparency
Does the intake coordinator inform you of any tests or procedures that you must submit to before or during the admission process (Blood tests, urinalysis etc.)? Do they ask questions about your medical history? Do they discuss all possible costs that you may incur while in the program and how that will be handled?
Does the facility offer a family program that encourages family members to become involved with your treatment and invested in a positive outcome? Do they educate the family about the goals of treatment and involve them in the discharge planning procedures? Good programs know that the cooperation of family members is a big factor in sustaining recovery. Oftentimes, families need to understand the clients level of functioning and how to avoid behaviors that might inadvertently interfere with the recovery process.
Does the program allow you to tour the facility?
You should be able to see the environment that your loved one will be living in during treatment. Do they discuss their rules and day to day expectations?
Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. While it is important to be vigilant in your search for a reputable program and to educate yourself as much as possible about addictive behaviors, don’t let the stories about scammers scare you or your loved one away from treatment. There will always be those who try to take advantage of people. Just remember that a big part of treatment is learning how to identify and avoid people who exhibit those behaviors. Due diligence goes a long way towards securing treatment for yourself or for those you love. It is well worth the effort.
Janice Hemmer- Tischler LCSW, ACSW, CAC