Should I Check Into Rehab During COVID-19?

NDFW Rehab Covid 19

We get many calls from people looking for addiction treatment, wondering if it’s safe to check into rehab during the coronavirus pandemic. In this climate, coronavirus is the top issue on our minds and in the news, however the devastating effects of addiction have not stopped – in fact, they’ve amplified. It’s normal to experience fear, anxiety, and stress during these difficult times, which are exacerbated by effects including job loss, isolation, and financial problems. These concerns have caused an uptick in addiction and mental health diagnoses and complications.

As our Executive Director Sue Bright shared in an interview with CBS News at the beginning of the pandemic, the safest place for someone in active addiction is a reputable treatment center that is following CDC protocol around COVID-19 to protect patients and staff. As parents call to ask about rehab for their daughter, or concerned people reach out to ask if their aging mother will do well in addiction treatment, we want to alleviate any fears and address these concerns. If you have any additional questions, please contact us today and one of our intake counselors will assist you.

Are you requiring patients to self-isolate before they come into rehab? Or do you quarantine while you are there?

When women come into our detoxification program, they stay in Pfister House which is part of our four acre campus. We currently give every detox patient their own room because our campus is large enough to make that accommodation. They are separated from our general patient community who are in ongoing residential care. Because patients brand new to recovery would check into detox initially anyway, patients do not experience much of a difference staying in this house for “quarantine”. Their goal is to get stable mentally and physically before the enter the residential treatment program.

Our care coordinators bring each patient healthy, home-cooked meals and check on them every thirty minutes per detox protocols. Detox patients’ temperatures are checked throughout the day, and we contact our consulting physician Dr. Andrei Dokukin immediately if there is any spike. After patients’ detoxification is complete and the COVID-19 test comes back negative, they can integrate into the overall patient community.

Are you testing patients in your rehab for COVID19? How quickly do you get the results back?

Yes, we are doing COVID-19 tests directly on our campus because we have an Incidental Medical Services license that allows our consulting physician to administer medical services on-site. The test results generally take 5-7 days to come back, but occasionally can return quicker. If a patient would like to get a COVID-19 test with their own doctor, they may do that as well.

What screening questions do you ask of potential patients before they come in?

Our Intake staff ask four questions of all new potential admits:

  • Have you recently had a high temperature?
  • Have you had flu-like symptoms?
  • Have you been exposed to anybody who has tested positive for COVID-19?
  • Have you traveled in the last thirty days?

Any potential patient who answers “yes” to those questions are directed to their medical doctor for further assessment, and they can enter treatment at New Directions for Women when medically cleared.

What does “shelter in place” look like in an addiction treatment center?

Should I Check Into Rehab During COVID-19?

Patients are not attending outside meetings, outings such as equine therapy, or other similar events. All clinical programming takes place on our secure campus in Costa Mesa. We have a four-acre space with a volleyball court, infrared dry sauna, multiple meditation gardens, and places to sit and enjoy the sunshine outside. Our patients become a tight knit community – sisters in sobriety – and avoid the ongoing social isolation that is a huge trigger for relapse.

All tours for outside visitors are currently paused or virtual. Alumnae meetings are held virtually, as are family sessions twice per week.

What are your staff reporting to the treatment center doing to stay safe from COVID-19?

While our residential patients stay safely on campus and our women in the outpatient level of care are receiving treatment via telehealth, our staff do travel from home to work. Every CDC guideline in this space is followed, including taking and logging temperatures upon reporting to work, wearing masks and/or face shields and gloves, and are not to report to work if they feel ill.

Staff practice social distancing, which means maintaining at least six feet between each other and avoiding physical greetings (replacing with a wave, nod, or bow instead).  

All patients, staff, and internal stakeholders have been trained on preventative protocols, including (but not limited to) cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces daily, washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and avoiding touching our eyes, nose and mouth.

I’m trying to figure out what has less risk – going into treatment or staying at home? What if I have an underlying health condition like asthma?

Substance use disorder is a life threatening disease. Over 67,300 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2018 – not to mention the hundreds of thousands of deaths from physical ailments like cirrhosis of the liver, accidents from driving under the influence, or the other dangerous effects of addiction. Our intake staff have talked to many families struggling with this choice, who have eventually come to realize their loved one is going to drink themselves to death at home unless an intervention occurs.

We treat addiction, one of the largest epidemics in our history. When faced with the choice of going into treatment during the coronavirus pandemic or continuing to use their substance of choice addictively at home, the answer is always that treatment is the safest choice.

I lost my job and my insurance benefits as a result of the pandemic. How can I pay for treatment?

Yes, there is no question that times are tough and there is a lot of fear. People are nervous to make any big decisions, movements, or spend their savings. But remember, treatment is such a gift and investment to make in yourself.

Some patients have put their unemployment funds or other savings towards treatment. After all, people in active addiction can fund their habit (which isn’t cheap)! If someone can afford their drug of choice, all of those funds could be funneled towards treatment.

We can work with some covered California policies if they are carved out to HealthNet or Oscar. We are also in network with Cigna, Beacon, United Healthcare, and Health Net. Use this form to submit your insurance information and we can verify your benefits to review your financial options with you.

As a nonprofit organization, we provide some partial scholarship for care. We do not provide 100% scholarships as we feel all patients and families should have some “skin in the game”. There are costs associated to providing high quality care and our goal is always help you achieve the best treatment and healing possible for life long recovery.

I want to bring my child into treatment with me. Is it safe?

At New Directions for Women, we serve women with their children up to the age of twelve, and pregnant women in any trimester. It is very safe to bring your children with you to NDFW. We have a full time Developmental Daycare Coordinator who provides a development curriculum for children while Moms are in clinical groups throughout the day. We can assist every Mom in signing them up for school in our school district, which is Newport Mesa. Whether children are able to return to school in Fall 2020 is a fluid situation, and we can help patients navigate that. If the Newport Mesa school district decides to provide distance learning, we have computers and tablets we can provide to ensure every child receives what they need.

How should I travel to your addiction treatment program in Orange County?

We request you fly directly to John Wayne Airport (airport code SNA). Orange County has less coronavirus risk and statistics than Los Angeles, and LAX is a much larger and congested airport. We can pick you or your loved one up at John Wayne Airport and return to our campus within ten minutes.

Alternatively, New Directions for Women in Costa Mesa is easy to get to via driving from many metropolitan locations including San Diego, Inland Empire, Santa Barbara, Palm Springs, or even the San Francisco Bay Area.

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