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What Should I Know When Planning a Family Visit to Rehab for a Loved One?

Rehab staff is there to support a loved one during a challenging time. Quite often, inpatient therapy is involving the family in the process of discovery along with their loved ones. They are able to stand side-by-side as they make the journey through rehab while also participating in addiction therapy. Educating the family is important so they know how to engage with their loved one in recovery and work on their own recovery as a family together. Learn about some do’s and don’ts when visiting a loved one in rehab to make it a positive experience.

Visiting Time

When being asked to visit a family member, there are some key elements that make up a great visit. People with addiction are going through a hard time and are very sensitive. They are now being asked to do what feels impossible to them. It is hard every day getting up facing the past and future from where they stand. They try to react by pretending all is well or that they don’t care what others think, but in reality, they care a great deal. Consider some of the ways family should (and should not) engage a loved one to make the experience the best it can be:

  • Forget about money: the last thing the person in rehab needs to be reminded of is how much this is costing everyone. Rehab is expensive. Reminding them of the cost or repayment may trigger them and elicit thoughts of failing to thrive in rehab. Keep comments out of the dialogue for now until the time is appropriate to discuss it
  • Leave family drama out of visit: they are doing what they should be doing right now and it is a hard place to be. They may not realize the extent to which family is embroiled in drama but don’t bring it to the rehab center or talk about it in front of that person during the short time there is to spend time together
  • Don’t discuss what’s next: every moment is precious in recovery. It is hard to stay present when people remind loved ones of the future and getting a job, going back to work, school, or finding their next steps. When the time comes, there will be an opportunity to work on that. Let the focus be on recovery, not on anything else for the time being

Make the Most of It

Here are some things to consider when visiting a loved one that may be helpful to them on their journey. Think about them and what they may be experiencing. It helps to imagine what they might enjoy hearing or learning about from the family during a difficult time.

  • Spend the time: even if it is far away from home, make the effort to visit when possible. It will mean the world to the people spending their time getting well and makes it an easier transition when they leave
  • Talk about life: while they are in rehab, life is happening outside. Discuss politics, weather, and whatever else they find encouraging and interesting. Try to stay away from a divisive conversation that might upset them but do focus on the small talk for those shorter visits
  • Meet the staff: take time to engage with people in-site, ask questions, and find a way to bridge the gap between where the family is and the loved one is at the moment. Progress checks help the family know where things are, so check-in and know the discharge date to plan for the future

Family is so vital to the connection a loved one has to the outside. It is important to keep in touch with them and stay connected. 

The Guest House is based on a Therapeutic Communty model. We help people learn how to live free of addiction. One of the things we love to do is encourage family during visits. This greatly helps loved ones feel connected to the outside and like someone cares. It can be strenuous as addiction does strain family relationships the most, but we help everyone learn how to navigate those the best we can. Our program provides a special focus for professionals including chiropractors, nurses, doctors, lawyers, and more who need help with addiction recovery. Call us to find out more: 855-483-7800.