FIRSTLY, IS IT A REHAB?
Many websites these days masquerade as a rehab, when in actual fact, they are acting like a travel agent, namely selling treatment on behalf of a facility with whom they have a contract. This called “touting” and is outlawed by the ethical guidelines on the Health Professions Council for good reason. However, these websites are not bound by any ethical considerations or accountable to anyone. They have no interest in your wellbeing or welfare; only the amount of commission they can make out of your referral to a facility with whom they have a kickback arrangement. Sometimes they will even auction you to the facility that pays them the best commission.
SECONDLY, IS THE FACILITY REGISTERED?
Registration with a statutory authority does not guarantee good treatment but it does mean that the facility has had to meet certain medico-legal requirements but more importantly, it means that if things go wrong, you will have some recourse. Always ask if the facility is registered with the Department of Social Development. If the answer is yes, then the facility is also most likely connected to medical aid reimbursement for the treatment, which is a huge benefit to you.
DOES THE FACILITY HAVE A TREATMENT TRACK RECORD?
With the advent of the internet, anyone with an empty garage in their backyard can set up a rehab and make the most outrageous treatment claims and success stories. They will describe a programme filled with all sorts of recreational activities and alternative therapies all designed to distract from their inexperience with actual addiction treatment. They know that the target audience with addictive disorders is usually very desperate for help and vulnerable to exploitation, so snake oil salesman abound. So, make sure they can deliver on what they claim.
IS THE FACILITY PROPERLY STAFFED?
Most treatment facilities have a mix of psychologically trained registered healthcare professionals and para professional counselling staff. A balance is important as many clients these days are identified as having psychological disorders that if left unaddressed, raise the relapse risk profile enormously. So the presence of professionals is important but because they are expensive to employ, facilities tend to keep them to a minimum.
IS THERE A NURSING, MEDICAL AND PSYCHIATRIC SUPPORT SYSTEM IN PLACE?
If the answer is yes, ask for details. If the answer is no, venture forth at your own risk. Most people with addictive disorders will have medication or nursing needs while in treatment that require the presence of trained medical staff