One thing that can put people off seeking addiction treatment and being an inpatient at a rehab treatment facility is the thought of being completely isolated from their family. The good news is that you can visit people in rehab.
While rehab visitation rules do vary significantly from one facility to another, the majority of rehabs do allow family members to visit. In this article, we will explore the subject of rehab visitation rules in greater depth.
Can you visit a loved one in rehab?
It is very rare for a rehab facility to not allow a patient being treated for drug or alcohol addiction to receive visits from family members. Depending on the facility and the severity of the addiction, visitation periods may be strictly limited.
Similarly, if a patient is admitted to a rehab facility via court order, it might be that family members are unable to visit at all – beside occasional phone calls, perhaps.
The best bet is to ask the question before checking a loved one into a rehabilitation centre – particularly if the addicted has expressed the need and desire to have family and friends be able to visit them.
Depending on the nature of their treatment placement, family treatment / family therapy sessions might be a requirement. As such, this will give you and other family members an opportunity to catch up with your loved one.
Why rehab patients want visitors
It can be very therapeutic for a patient to receive a visitor – particularly someone close to them such as a parent or spouse. It allows them to enjoy some familiarity and a sense of normality. Naturally, rehab can be quite disruptive to what a person is normally used to and being away from their children and/or partner can be a rather lonely and alienating experience.
Not only that, but for some people it comes down to pride; they want to show their family what excellent progress they are making, while perhaps even introducing their loved ones to new friends and the staff that they have been developing new relationships with.
Ultimately, a patient wants a visitor to remind them of who they are fighting for! That’s what it’s all about.
When can you visit someone in rehab?
Rehab visitations will vary from one centre to another but as a general rule of thumb, it is advised that you wait a little while before your first visit (typically wait until after the first week). This is to give the addicted individual time to settle into their new surroundings, go through the detoxification process (if applicable), and be in a better mental state to receive guests.
This is largely because if you were to visit while your loved one is experiencing painful withdrawal symptoms due to their addiction treatment, it can be rather traumatic – both for you and the patient.
The rules surrounding rehab visitation will be discussed with the staff at the rehab centre. They will work with you to figure out a time that works for everyone – including how frequently you can visit throughout the duration of their stay,
How often can you visit someone in rehab?
Every drug rehab facility has different visitation rules. In order to ensure that the patient is receiving the best possible treatment process absent distraction, this will likely be limited to once or twice a week.
If the addicted individual receives guests on a daily basis it can disrupt their routine and distract them from the recovery process.
That being said, it is often the case that inpatients staying at a rehab facility are allowed to use a telephone to contact friends and family during set periods. So, even though they might not be able to receive a physical visitation every day, they can still make contact with friends and loved ones to let them know how they are doing.
Can you take gifts for a patient?
You can indeed take gifts for a patient undergoing treatment in a rehab facility. Naturally, facility rules will dictate what kind of gift you can bring. You certainly won’t be allowed to bring drugs or a bottle of wine in to celebrate their continued abstinence.
However, things like toiletries, comfortable clothing, books, snacks, and even letters of encouragement with family photos attached are allowed.
Giving someone a gift while they are in rehab is a great way of providing emotional support and letting them know that you will be with them every step of the way throughout their long term recovery.
Even though they will be surrounded by others, recovering addicts can get terribly lonely and miss their friends and family. As such, if you want to bring them a gift to remind them of you when you come to visit, you are encouraged to do so.
Tips for visiting someone in rehab
- Don’t bring in any negativity: a family visit should be a positive experience so make sure you leave any negativity at the door. Your job is to uplift and encourage them!
- Don’t talk about money: someone suffering from addiction and attending rehab will likely feel guilty enough as it is. Do not talk about money!
- Don’t talk about the future: the addicted individual should be focused on the present. Try to avoid talking about the future (or the past for that matter). It’s all about the now!
- Don’t comment on their appearance: your loved one will likely have lost a lot of weight and may not quite look like themselves. Do not comment on their appearance and try to keep things positive.
- Don’t apply any pressure: by this point, they are already well aware of the damage that they have caused. Your only focus should be helping them get better and mending your relationship.
- Do turn up on time: not only because routine is an important part of the process, but because it’s also the courteous thing to do. Show the staff and your loved one that you are taking this seriously.
- Do shower them with praise: the fact that they are taking part in rehab and working toward their recovery is a miracle in and of itself. Shower them with praise and applaud their dedication.
- Do bring a gift: a person receiving treatment for drug abuse needs all the help they can get. Bring them a gift and lift their spirits.
- Do keep it light: rehab is hard. They are already going to be in a fairly temperamental position so try to keep conversation light and focus on making them smile instead.
Risks of visiting a patient during their recovery
Undergoing treatment in a rehab facility affects other people differently. For some individuals, being away from friends and family for an extended period of time will not impact them negatively. However, for others, they may recede into themselves and struggle with the isolation.
It is important to be aware of the risks of visiting a patient during their recovery – and indeed, too soon.
A recovering addict who is taking part in a treatment programme should be allowed a little time to settle into their new environment. If you come in to visit them too soon – particularly at the height of their withdrawal – you run the risk of destabilising the individual and encouraging them to give up.
Similarly, seeing someone that you love and care about in pain can be a traumatic experience. It wouldn’t be unheard of to want to take a family member home before they can complete their rehabilitation.
Fortunately, there are rules in place to ensure that the best possible transition takes place. As such, you will likely be encouraged to wait before visiting family members at rehab facilities.
Family support groups
It’s important that family members visit their loved ones in rehab facilities, but there are other ways to help. In fact, there are family therapy options where you can sit down with your loved ones and the addicted individual to work on coping mechanisms and mending relationships.
If you have been under a lot of pressure and there has been significant strain on your relationship with the patient, it can be highly therapeutic to talk through it in safe and professionally guided environment.