“That first 24 hours of rehab is a really scary period,” confirms Ann Fisher, the Director Of Admissions at Swift River, Vertava Health’ Massachusetts facility. “Clients are going to have to face a lot of fears and relive memories of themselves during active addiction.”
This is why, after years of working in addiction treatment and as a person in recovery herself, Ann emphasizes the importance of making a client feel as comfortable as possible when they initially arrive at treatment. “The first thing that happens when clients arrive at treatment is they’re greeted at the door by a nurse and a recovery specialist. We want them to feel welcome,” she explains.
Beginning The Intake Process On The First Day Of Rehab
After clients are welcomed at the door, they will be escorted to the intake room. Once there, clients will review and sign a consent to treat which allows the facility to take care of them.
Once the form has been signed, clients will spend time with a recovery specialist. The recovery specialist is responsible for going over the client handbook and reviewing the treatment program with each person. After clients receive a rundown of the treatment program, a recovery specialist will walk them through their class schedule and day-to-day.
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Ann explains that each client is allowed a hand in choosing which groups they would like to attend, and this client involvement helps them remain engaged in the process.
“It’s also at this point that clients are able to contact their families,” states Ann. “We want the families to know that their loved one has arrived safely.” She also has clients write down any important phone numbers before they turn their phones over to their treatment team for the remainder of their stay.
“They don’t have phones with them during their stay with us,” she says. “We want them to focus on their recovery while here and not be glued to their devices.”
After contact has been made, clients will enter a seven day blackout period where they’ll have no communication with anyone outside of the facility. “Many clients are detoxing during this period, and use this time to recover from withdrawal and get settled in their new environment,” says Ann.
The intake process also includes a bag and property check to make sure that clients are not bringing any drugs or alcohol on campus with them. “Clients can bring almost anything with them as long as it’s not a risk to them,” she explains. “All we ask is that the toiletries are new or unopened.”
The intake process is paramount to creating a well-rounded treatment plan for each client. Due to this, it’s important that clients share the truth with their treatment team knowing that whatever they say is completely confidential.
The Medical Assessments On The First Day Of Rehab
During the first 24 hours at a treatment center, Ann explains that clients will complete three different assessments:
- Bio-Psych Social Assessment: Clients are asked a series of questions to determine the physiological, biological and social factors that contributed to their addiction and brought them to treatment.
- Nursing Assessment: The nurse that greeted the client upon arrival will gather information about the client’s physiological, psychological, sociological, and spiritual status.
- History And Physical: Past medical and mental history is gathered to create a solid understanding of the client’s medical needs. A nurse performs a physical exam to assess how the client’s health is currently.
These assessments are absolutely critical in order to get necessary background information on the client. They cover everything from a history of drug and alcohol usage to what the client’s current family or social relationships look like in order to create the clearest picture of who a client is, what motivates them and which treatment options will fit their needs.
“We really have no idea who that person is going to be when they arrive at treatment,” states Ann. “The assessments help us find out who we’re dealing with so our staff can begin to figure out how to best help them.”
Settling In On The First Day Of Rehab
The first day of rehab can be overwhelming. Not only are clients thrust into an entirely new environment, but according to Ann, many clients are meeting new people for the first time in years.
“Addiction is a disease of isolation,” she describes. “So when a client gets here, they’ve often been extremely closed off for months, if not years. Having to speak to so many new people can be distressing.” Due to this, Ann says that most of the time, a client’s first day at rehab is filled with a lot of rest.
“Our team will give them a brief tour of the facility, and afterward a lot of clients choose to relax in their room unless they need immediate medical care,” she explains. Ann elaborates on this, saying that many clients travel a great distance to reach their facility and just want to eat and go to bed when they arrive- and this is understandable.
Leaving everything and everyone you know behind to go to an entirely foreign place would be scary for anyone. This fear is often exacerbated by the fact that for those in treatment, this could be the most important decision of their lives.
“Clients are coming in with a lot of anxieties, and they’re looking at us to show them how to live life again,” Ann explains. “People are trusting their life to us when they come here, and we don’t take that lightly.”