According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Principles of Effective Treatment, one of the elements of addiction treatment that contributes to more positive outcomes is that treatment be readily available. Because people who are seeking treatment may be uncertain or nervous about treatment, once they make the decision to enter, it’s important that treatment begin quickly.
For this reason, people who have decided to seek treatment for drug or alcohol addiction are most likely to enter rehab if the admissions process is quick and easy, allowing access to care in the shortest amount of time possible.
The 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health states that about 21.5 million people had a substance use disorder of some kind. However, only about 4.2 million got treatment of any kind, and even fewer – 2.6 million – got specialty treatment, which is the type of treatment most recommended for the best chance at a positive outcome.
One of the reasons for this gap is simple: If treatment isn’t readily available when sought, the person may quickly give up the idea of rehab and continue the substance abuse. Because people who deal with substance abuse often hesitate about getting treatment, an inability to be admitted to treatment promptly could lead to a change of mind and a lost opportunity for achieving sobriety.
For this reason, the faster a person can be admitted to a treatment program, the more likely it is that the individual will actually enter treatment and get started with the care that can lead to recovery. High-quality treatment programs help to manage this situation by offering a guided admission process that can usually be completed quickly, often getting the person into treatment within 24 hours.
The Admission Process
The admission process for rehab involves:
- Assessing the person’s needs for treatment
- Verifying the method and means of payment
- Arranging for transportation or travel to the facility
- Arriving at and getting settled into the facility
These steps vary in time based on the degree of substance abuse, the need for detox, and other factors. However, with an experienced staff and management process, the steps can be streamlined to get the person into rehab quickly while still providing an accurate assessment of care needs and developing a personalized program.
Proper assessment is necessary to develop the personalized programs that, as demonstrated by research in Alcohol and Alcoholism, are more likely to result in recovery from substance use disorders. The assessment process not only takes place during the preadmission process, but it is also used to adjust treatment, as needed, on an ongoing basis throughout the program.
The initial assessment generally takes between 15 and 30 minutes. During this time, the facility’s admissions specialist learns about the person’s addiction history, patterns and types of substance use, any co-occurring mental health disorders, and other factors. After this simple, brief assessment, a determination is made regarding the need for and degree of care.
Once the assessment has been completed, the means and method of payment are worked out. There are a number of options for payment, depending on the individual’s circumstances, including:
- Insurance coverage
- Payment plans or financing through the facility
- Scaled costs based on ability to pay
- Grants, loans, or other outside sources
- Support from family and friends
The admissions specialist assists in determining the best way to cover the cost of treatment, including working with the person’s insurance company to determine the amount that will be covered by insurance.
The admissions specialist can make arrangements for travel to the facility, including booking any flights or other transportation needed and coordinating the travel plan. This includes making sure that someone from the facility meets the person at the airport for direct transportation to the facility. The costs of travel are often managed as part of the payment plan.
Once these plans are completed, the person is advised on what to bring to the facility, and begins preparations to embark on the journey to the treatment center, while arrangements are made for arrival.
Upon arrival at the treatment center, the individual is welcomed and the admitting process is completed. The treatment plan is finalized upon an in-person assessment with members of the treatment team. The person can then settle into the facility and get started with individualized treatment.
Most often, the entire process can take place within 24 hours.
Through this streamlined process, it can be easy for a person who has decided to get help to stick with that resolution and enter rehab quickly and smoothly.