- Content Reviewed By:
- Andrew McKenna - JD
- Deputy Director of NCADD Westchester
More than half of all Americans have a friend or family member who has battled drug addiction. Family stability and harmony are often the first casualties of addiction, as substance use disorder sends shockwaves through the household and the extended family unit.
Along with the intense feeling of hopelessness and desperation that families experience when battling addiction, they also face severe logistical disruption even when they help their loved ones enter rehab.
If your loved one is entering rehab for alcohol or drug addiction, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed and even lost about what to expect. While organizations like the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offer certain educational and support resources for families, there are variables and questions that can be very hard to navigate.
Learn some of the things you can expect when your loved one is entering rehab and how to navigate these issues and facilitate seamless entry into care.
How Do I Pay for My Loved One’s Rehab?
One of the most common fears and concerns when putting a family member in rehab can be how you’re going to pay for it. It’s important to realize that recent legislative changes have made it easier for private insurance companies and public options like Medicare and Medicaid to cover all or part of the cost of treatment.
While your scope of coverage will depend on your individual plan type and what kind of care your loved one is seeking (inpatient, outpatient, long-term, medication-assisted treatment, etc.), you can find out precisely what your plan covers and what your options are by calling your treatment center for a complete insurance verification.
Other rehab centers may also offer income-based or sliding-scale rehab options that allow you to pay what you can afford for a baseline quality of care. Others may allow you to finance the cost of care, so it’s less of an immediate economic impact. Some of the major insurance companies that offer coverage for alcohol and drug rehab include Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, and Humana
Each one of these companies has multiple state affiliate programs, so it’s important to call the treatment center you’re considering to verify what your plan covers. An admissions representative will be able to help you make an informed and proactive decision.
What Should I Do About My Job?
Maneuvering to get your loved one into a rehab program and even staying close to them while they’re completing their care can be tricky with your professional situation, but you do have options.
Whether you just need a few days to get your family member settled and into a program, you need to take an extended amount of time to be with them while they’re in an inpatient treatment program far away, or you just need to make arrangements to drive them to and pick them up from treatment, you may need to make certain schedule arrangements with your employer.
The good news is that you have options under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to help your loved one navigate the transition into and completion of treatment. According to the United States Department of Labor:
“An employee may take FMLA leave to care for a covered family member who is receiving treatment for substance abuse. The employer may not take action against an employee who is providing care for a covered family member receiving treatment for substance abuse.”
If you need to take FMLA leave to care for a family member entering substance abuse treatment, it helps to take the following steps:
- Learn your company’s individual policy and verify it with a representative from your human resources (HR) department.
- Work with your colleagues and leadership to go over a plan to minimize disruption in your absence.
- Try to offer a return date to ensure organizational continuity (this will also help your peace of mind and make things easier when you return).
You can also talk to your employer about continuing to work remotely while you help your loved one enter and complete treatment. The COVID-19 pandemic illustrated that remote work is more than possible in emergencies, and many workplaces have shifted entirely to remote models.
It’s important to realize that many smaller organizations may not have individual policies in place to address time off for employees’ loved ones’ substance abuse treatment, so it’s helpful to understand national labor laws under the Americans with Disabilities Act as well.
What Should My Loved One Bring to Rehab?
The items you bring to rehab will depend on what kind of program your loved one is entering, the rules of your specific facility, and other factors. If you’re entering an inpatient program, you’ll want to bring items such as:
- Appropriate Clothing and Footwear
- All Essential Medications
- Exercise and Fitness Attire
- Gratitude or Reflection Journal
- Books That Can Help and Inspire
- List of Important Contacts
- Cell Phone, Credit and/or Debit Card
- Cash for Extra Personal Items
The rehab center you’re considering may also prohibit certain items, at least for the first part of treatment while your loved one is getting help. Again, the best way to find out what to bring to treatment is to get a specific list of “do’s and don’ts” from the treatment center your loved one is entering.
Will I Get to See My Loved One in Rehab?
Yes. While some rehab centers have more restrictive rules than others regarding the timeline of patient contact, any facility you choose should encourage family engagement because it’s going to be an integral part of the long-term recovery process.
You should also ask the facility you’re considering about their safety standards, amenities, accreditations, and all other pertinent information related to your loved one’s success and well-being.
You and your loved one deserve the best shot at success during the rehab process.
While it can be very hard to know what to expect from your loved one’s rehab journey, this information will provide a basic roadmap for knowledge.