Frequently Asked Questions for Families of Addicts
We understand this is a time of mixed emotions for you. Below you will find answers to questions you may be wondering about.
Q: What happens after I leave?
A: Staff will take the patient up to the Addictions Treatment Center (ATC). Your loved one will then meet with a psychiatrist and an addictions counselor to complete intake assessments. The patient will meet with nursing staff for initial vital signs and a nursing assessment. Staff will search the patient’s belongings and personal items as a way to maintain safety. Items such as cell phones and personal electronic equipment will typically be removed and locked up, unless an order is written by the physician. The patient will then receive a tour of the unit and will spend time with their assigned staff, reviewing orientation material.
If insurance is involved in the payment of treatment, your loved one’s length of stay will likely be unknown on this first day. Once the ATC receives notice of a potential length of stay (typically within 24-48 hours of admission), the patient will be notified, and they may notify you at this time.
Q: What is a day like for my loved one?
A: On weekdays, the mornings consist of breakfast and a 3-hour group therapy session. Following this, the patients eat lunch and attend various therapy modalities (expressive therapy, meditation/mindfulness, yoga, drum, adventure group, family group). At 4:00 p.m., patients attend a group led by the ATC nurse, focusing on stress management, goal-setting, sleep hygiene, and/or coping skills. Patients engage in leisure group at 5:00 p.m. until dinner at 5:40 p.m. Patients may work on their homework assignments after dinner, with exercise/recreation following this until 10:00 p.m. Patients are expected to have “lights out” at 11:00 p.m. nightly.
Weekends consist of meals, group therapy, exercise/recreation, psycho-educational videos, treatment-related videos, visitation/phone calls, homework, leisure group, an AA meeting and a spirituality group.
Q: May I call and speak to my loved one?
A: Patients are allowed 10 minute phone calls each Sunday from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and each Wednesday from 4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Patients are allowed three total phone calls over these two days (Sundays and Wednesdays). Phone calls are intentionally limited so that patients are allowed to focus on getting themselves well, rather than worrying about the stressors of the outside world. Exceptions may be made by the ATC counselors in certain situations but all phone calls must be pre-approved by staff and remain at staff’s discretion. when you call, be sure to ask for the Addictions Treatment Center (or ATC). Once transferred to the unit, you may ask to speak with staff and/or the patient. If you have questions or concerns about your loved one’s care that you would like to discuss with staff, please feel free to call.
Q: May I visit?
A: Patients are allowed visitation from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. each Sunday. All visitors need to be pre- approved. All visits are monitored by staff and are in locations both on and off the ATC unit. Each visitor will be asked to sign a confidentiality waiver. Please note that it is an expectation that all purses, bags, phones, and other personal belongings be locked up during visitation. If an argument erupts, the visitor will be asked to leave, regardless of who is at fault or who started the argument.
Q: May I bring food and/or beverages when I visit?
A: As a general rule, outside food and drink is not allowed in the facility. The ATC offers a weekly shopping trip to one location, in which patients are permitted to request items. Items must be approved by the ATC medical team to ensure safety. Staff will retrieve requested items. Cash is required to purchase items. You may provide your loved one with cash to purchase items, rather than bringing them actual food and/or drink, which will likely be sent back home with you.
Q: May I bring other items for my loved one?
A: We understand that sometimes people forget items and there is a need to bring those to them while they are in treatment. We ask that whatever you bring to your loved one is given to staff first so that it can be approved. Prairie View is a tobacco-free campus, so tobacco in any form should not be brought to the unit.
Q: May I take pictures?
A: Due to confidentiality, taking pictures or recording of any kind is prohibited.
Q: May my loved one receive mail?
A: Patients may send and receive mail. Please be sure to address the envelope/package with your loved one’s name in care of Prairie View ATC. Mail will be opened in the presence of staff.
Q: What is Family Week?
A: If your loved one would like to, family members may be invited to participate in “Family Week” with activities from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 pm. on Wednesday, Thursday and/or Friday. On other Wednesday or Friday, you may participate in a Family Therapy session with your loved one and ALL of the patients on the unit. Thursday activities consist of an Adventure Group on the Adventure Course with all family members in attendance, along with any other patients who may have family present. Please dress appropriate for the weather and activities (e.g., tennis shoes). In case of inclement weather, activities will be held in the gym. You also have the opportunity to call and talk with an addiction counselor to learn more about the program, learn resources, discuss the addiction process, and process the impact on you and your family. These phone calls will be scheduled by request. The purpose of family week is to foster communication, build trust, set boundaries, and learn to have fun with sobriety.