Learn / What to Ask a Rehab Center

What to Ask a Rehab Center

Kayla Gill
 January 25th, 2024|   Clinically Reviewed by 
Lisa Misquith

Calling a rehab center for the first time can feel overwhelming, but it’s an important first step toward getting help.

Knowing what to expect when you get on the phone with a rehab can give you the confidence you need to make that first call. Here’s what to expect—and what to ask—when inquiring at a rehab.

Before you pick up the phone, it’s a good idea to have a list of questions you want to ask. It’ll help you feel prepared, and ensure you’ll get all of the information you need to make a decision about your treatment. 

Rehab Questions: The Basics

How much does treatment cost?

This is the first question on most people’s minds when they call a treatment center. Knowing the costs of treatment upfront allows you to financially prepare for rehab.

In the U.S., most insurance policies cover up to a certain level of treatment. Rehab admissions teams can usually help you find out what your plan will cover. Heather Charlet, Director of Admissions at Gallus Detox Center Colorado, explains that coverage “depends on each individual’s policy and what their out-of-network benefits are. We run a verification of benefits for every patient that has insurance to see what we’re able to cover.”

Use these questions as a starting point: 

  • Do you accept my insurance? 
  • If not, what are my payment options?
  • Is full payment required upfront or can I pay a deposit to hold my spot? 

Read more about how much rehab costs.   

Is there a waitlist?

Most people seeking treatment want help as soon as possible. Because of the large number of treatment centers available, waitlists generally aren’t common in the U.S. But in Europe and Australia have far fewer private rehab options, which may be waitlisted.  

Because addiction is an urgent issue, whether a rehab has a waitlist or not may determine if you can, or want to, receive treatment there. Knowing this right away can save you time. 

Gallus Detox Center in Littleton, Colorado.

Tell me more about your treatment approach and therapies.

The path to recovery is highly personal: What works for one person may or may not work for another. That’s why rehabs use so many different methods to treat addiction and mental health disorders. 

Faith-based, 12-Step, non-12-Step, and holistic rehabs are examples of rehab treatment approaches that frame entire programs and may appeal to different types of people. Specific therapies include a range of evidence-based and holistic treatments.

What works best for you depends on your personal framework, past treatment experiences, and addiction or mental health history. Learn what each center offers so you can decide whether their approach resonates with you.

How qualified is your staff?

Knowing who will care for you is just as important as knowing what methods they use. These rehab staff-related questions will help you get a clearer picture of the people guiding your treatment: 

  • What kind of professionals will I be interacting with on a day-to-day basis? 
  • Who will be on my treatment team? 
  • What are their qualifications? 

Rehab Questions: Details of Your Stay

What types of clientele does your program serve? Do you offer specialized services?

These questions are important for several reasons:

  • Some rehab programs are tailored to the needs of certain clientele. There are rehabs that cater to executives and wouldn’t be appropriate for teens, for example.
  • If you identify with ethnic or sexual minority groups, you may require resources to address your minority experiences. For example, a trans person may need an LGBTQ+ affirming environment to safely process trauma. 
  • You may need other specializations for a successful treatment experience, such as co-occurring disorder treatment or trauma-informed care.
Camino Recovery in Vélez-Málaga, Spain.

Do you offer on-site detox?

Some people require detox before they begin inpatient treatment. And some residential rehabs are equipped with the facilities and medical staff necessary to offer detox services on-site. Other centers may offer detox off-site through partnerships with local medical facilities. 

An admissions counselor or addiction specialist can help you determine if you need medical detox. 

Detoxing on your own can be harmful to both your physical and mental health. Consult with your doctor or a qualified medical professional when making decisions about detox. 

How many clinical hours does your program include

A key indicator of a rehab center’s value is how many individual therapy sessions you’ll receive per week. The more time you get to spend with your counselors and therapists, the more help you’ll directly receive. Some treatment programs consist mainly of group therapy sessions, while others include more one-on-one time with practitioners. Finding this out upfront can help you avoid unpleasant surprises when you arrive.  

What’s your policy on contact with loved ones? Can I use my laptop or cell phone?

Relationships with your partner, family, and friends are an essential part of your life and recovery. Don’t let fear of not knowing whether you’ll be able to communicate with them be the roadblock that stops you from getting help. 

Ask the center what their device or communications policies are: 

All Points North Lodge in Vail Valley, Colorado.

Questions to Ask a Rehab Facility Before Being Released

Is it possible for me to extend my stay if necessary?

Most inpatient rehab programs have set lengths of stay that range from 30 to 90 days. Still, you never know what’s going to happen and if you’ll feel fully prepared to check out once you’ve reached the benchmark time spent in treatment. While most centers are happy to allow clients to extend their stay, if yours is waitlisted, it’s worth checking in advance. 

What kind of continuing care do you provide?

Most people require ongoing support and care after their stay at a residential rehab. Jan Gerber, CEO of Paracelsus in Zurich, Switzerland, points out: 

What happens after treatment is probably the most important question about treatment, because that’s what people go back to after they leave from treatment. The whole concept of aftercare is maybe even more important than the treatment itself.” 

Certain components of continuing care, such as ongoing therapy and a strong support network, are essential to relapse prevention. But aftercare options vary greatly between rehab centers. Some centers may not offer continuing care, or may offer these services at an additional cost. So make sure you find out as much information as possible about their aftercare program.

Choosing the Right Rehab Center for You

Wherever you are in the process of seeking help, it’s okay to not have all of the answers. The first phone call to a rehab is a key first step toward getting the help you need. Make the most of your conversation with an admissions advisor so you can make an educated choice about which center is best for your needs.

Browse our list of rehabs to learn more about available treatment options.

Frequently Asked Questions About Calling a Rehab Center

What happens when you call a drug rehab?

An intake specialist will ask a series of questions to learn more about you. This helps them determine the level of care you need and other treatment details. It’s also a chance for you to find out more about the center.

What questions should I ask when choosing a drug rehab?

These questions can help you make the most out of your call:

  • How much does treatment cost? 
  • Is there a waitlist? If so, how long is it? 
  • Tell me about your center’s philosophy and treatment methods.
  • What kind of specialists do you have on staff?
  • Do you offer on-site detox?
  • How many clinical hours does your program include?

Who answers the phone when you call a rehab?

An intake or admissions specialist picks up. Sometimes a receptionist will answer and redirect your call. All rehab staff should follow ethical standards when interacting with potential patients.

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