Questions to Ask Each Rehab Facility

Printable Version – Questions Only

Printable Version – With Notes & Recommendations

Finding the right rehab can be grueling. Admissions personnel are there to convince you that their program is the best. It is your job to choose between many types of programs and attractive offers. It is enough to make your head spin.

We have compiled a list of questions to help you determine the right facility for you or your loved one. Because every situation is unique you may have to add or remove some of the questions below to make sure the facility meets your individualized needs.

Here is the most important piece of advice I can give you: Have them put their proposal in writing. This minimizes misunderstandings and offers you a starting point to ensure that you or your loved one will receive the treatment as described.


1.   What treatment modalities do you offer?

Treatment modality refers to the approach the clinic or rehab uses to treat alcoholism or substance abuse. Most rehabilitation programs use several types of modalities concurrently.

Some treatment modalities are well established and integrated into the program such as the Twelve-Steps and group psychotherapy.

However, some approaches are “experiential therapies”. Biofeedback is one of them and is being used with great success. It can be learned in rehab and then used as an aftercare tool. It is becoming a standard for inpatient treatment options.

Other modalities may include cognitive behavioral therapy where the client is taught how to “change their thinking” about life and their addiction. Medication administration is also used as a therapeutic tool.

The goal of addiction treatment is to integrate the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual self so that sobriety can be achieved and maintained.


2.   What accreditation do you hold?

National accreditation shows that the program has been reviewed and offers credibility to the facility. Examples include the Joint Commission, National Committee for Quality Assurance, All-States and Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).


3.   Where are you located?

There are two schools of thought regarding location. One is to stay local regarding family programs, support and aftercare. Conversely, some advocate going to a distant location to concentrate solely on recovery and away from bad influences.


4.   Do you claim a success rate and if so, what is it?

There is no industry standard for determining success so it is important to ask how the facilities measure theirs.


5.   What is the cost of the program?

Treatment can be expensive, so you must find one that is affordable for you. Higher cost does not always mean better treatment.


6.   Do you accept insurance?

Care is expensive and not all facilities accept insurance. If they do, most facilities will help you navigate through this process.  At this time find out how many days your insurance will cover.


7.   What is a typical day’s schedule?

Look for a mixture of group and individual therapy.


8.   What happens during free time?


9.   What other services do you offer i.e. nutrition, exercise?

Amenities and services vary greatly from nothing to spa treatments and gourmet chefs.


10.   Do you offer intervention services or assistance?

Preparation is the key to a successful intervention, but no matter how well planned they can quickly become volatile.


11.   Do you offer medically supervised detox? If so, is it onsite, what is the length and cost?

It is important for clients to be medically stabilized before treatment. Facilities either offer it themselves or recommend one. You must find out if detox is part of the cost and if not what is the cost per day and how long it generally takes. The cost of detox is often considerably more per day than treatment.


12.   If the facility does not prove to be a good fit what is the refund policy?

This is very important. What happens if you or your loved one voluntarily leaves or is asked to leave? Do they have a clear refund policy and how is the process handled. I cannot stress this enough, misunderstandings in this area can lead to a lot of discontent.  Get this in writing!

A substantial deposit must be paid, which is. This deposit is usually non-refundable. If you do not show up or if you leave the rehab within the first 24 hours you forfeit the deposit. Some rehabs also want payment in full before admittance. Look into breaking up payments; a deposit and the balance to be paid in four payments of 25% of the total amount. This way if you should leave treatment you will not be out the full 100%; but rather only 25% of it.
13.   How many clients can you accommodate at any one time? Do you take male and females? What age groups?

Facilities vary greatly regarding size and although many are co-ed, treatment is generally gender specific. Some facilities offer a separate teen and/or young adult program.


14.   Is 12- step participation mandatory?

The 12 steps play a large role in treatment received at the majority of rehab facilities. If you or your loved one doesn’t respond well to the steps there are alternatives.


15.   What place do God and religion have in your treatment?

The 12 steps are grounded in the belief of a higher power. There are facilities that rely solely on the Bible and religious studies for treatment. Depending on you or your loved ones belief system this can be an important question. If attendance at church, synagogue, etc is important you should see if the facility will provide transportation.


16.   Is medication part of your program?

This is a heated question and you must be okay with the answer.

Drugs to lessen withdrawal symptoms during the detoxification phase are usually used.

Rehab treatment for prescription drugs is similar to the treatment for street drugs; they affect the same “brain systems.”

There are drugs used in treatment and after care but many of them are in discord among medical communities because they are for the most part substituting one drug for another. For example, Methadone can be administrated in place of heroin; Subutex® (buprenorphine hydrochloride) can be used in treatment for an opioid addiction. Antabuse (Disulfiram) makes one vomit if he or she takes a drink of alcohol.


17.   Do you have the ability to treat dual diagnosis?

A large percentage of alcoholics and addicts have an undiagnosed mental disorder. These disorders can range from alcohol dependence with depression, or schizophrenia, or chronic pain, and many more.

For these individuals with a dual diagnosis, life can be very difficult. To make matters worse they use medication from one disorder to treat the unwanted symptoms of another, and will use alcohol and other drugs to medicate themselves. Most rehabs evaluate their clients during pre-admission and intake to ascertain if another disorder is present. Sometimes the clinic must wait until detox is completed for symptoms to arise or to disappear. Research indicates that “treating both disorders simultaneously may be the best treatment approach for these patients.”



18.   What is the educational/licensure break-down of your staff? How many 1:1 sessions are offered weekly and with what level of counselor? What is the patient to counselor ratio?

Some of the available professionals at a rehab are M.D., R.N., Ph.D, LADC (licensed alcohol and drug counselor),LPC (licensed professional counselor), MFT (marriage and family therapist),LCSW (licensed clinical social worker), CAC (certified addictions counselor), CCDP (certified co-occurring disorders counselor). The client-counselor ratio should be relatively small to ensure personalized care, also ask how many patients are in a typical group.


19.   What are the rules about contact with family and the outside world?

This varies greatly among facilities; make sure you are comfortable with the answer.

The first seven days, in most rehabs, the client is not allowed any contact with the outside. That means no visitors, no telephone calls, no cell phone contacts, and no outside AA meetings. The objective is to keep the client focused on what’s going on inside the rehab, not the outside world. After seven days the spouse or family members are allowed to visit on family day, usually on Sunday.

During the third week of a 28 day program, visiting restrictions are lessened. Family members can visit certain hours during the week. The client is usually allowed a telephone call during the week when in the presence of a counselor or therapist.


20.   Is there a family program and, if so, what is the extent? Is it included in the cost?

Addiction affects the entire family and it is important for everyone to understand the addiction and recovery process.


21.   What length of stays do you offer?

Treatment generally starts at 28 days and there is a school of thought that the longer in treatment the better. Make sure you are comfortable with the answer and are prepared if the facility recommends a longer stay.


22.   What follow-up do you offer after treatment? Do you offer refresher courses or relapse prevention? If so, what is included in the cost of the program, and what is the additional cost?

Make sure the facility offers an individualized after-care plan and that they monitor progress. Most plans are set up for a 90-day period; then the plan is revised, with relapse prevention in number one position. Sometimes the rehab will tell you that there is no substitute for their treatment. This may or may not be the case. If you have the means and time, you could attend some of the aftercare program at the rehab. If you don’t, local facilities will work just fine. Remember that treatment is ongoing and not as needed. You have a responsibility, one day at a time, to take care of yourself.


23.   What forms of payments do you accept? Do you offer financing, payment plans, or a sliding scale?

Treatment is expensive and there are often alternatives out there to help you meet this expense. If the facility is not full they can often offer you a reduced rate to “fill the bed”.


24.   Is smoking allowed?


25.   Is there medical care available? If so, is it on-site?


26.   Is legal assistance provided through your program?

Many addicts go to rehab with legal issues; some facilities have staff to help with these problems.


27.   Do you have a professional program?

A program designed specifically for those in the medical or legal field.

1121 N Bethlehem Pike, Suite #60-129    Spring House, PA  19477