What to Expect on your First Day of Residential Mental Health Treatment
By: Jessie Cuadros and Debbie Hanford
For nearly every patient that seeks recovery, enrolling at a residential mental health treatment center is an intimidating experience that comes with great uncertainty. Placed into an unfamiliar environment where they don’t know anyone, the treatment center is often located many miles from their hometown, and they are required to follow a strict treatment itinerary. According to Debbie Hanford, Pasadena Villa Program Director, many patients resist being at a treatment center in the first place. However, she notes that nothing worthwhile is ever easy and requires a struggle to achieve the desired result.
The initial 24-hours at a residential mental health treatment center is consistent across the industry. Patients are notified beforehand of items they can bring from home and what is prohibited. They often arrive with family members and are always greeted upon arrival by the facility admissions staff. At Pasadena Villa, the admissions staff will assist patients in completing paperwork and consent forms and then will lead patients and family members on a tour of the facility.
Residents are assigned either a private or shared room; staff members will introduce the roommate if they have a shared room. Staff members will also inspect each resident’s belongings to see what items are appropriate and which items they’re not allowed to have while in treatment. Additionally, the treatment center staff will assist the resident with any other initial request or questions they may have. To ease new patients into treatment, residents are assigned a peer mentor that will introduce them to other residents.
Following room assignments and introductions, patients have individual meetings with the nursing staff, therapists, and psychiatrists. The nursing staff at Pasadena Villa meets with patients to review medical history, records, current medications, and recommend other medical needs if necessary. The nursing staff is often the ones who will conduct the initial assessment, gather the resident’s vitals and required instructions from doctors. Residents will also spend some time meeting with staff psychiatrists to discuss treatment issues, medications and review their progression. It’s not uncommon for residents to meet with staff psychiatrists on a weekly basis or bi-weekly basis dependent upon need and level of care.
The client/therapist relationship is the most important relationship during treatment. Each resident is assigned a therapist that will work with them in both individual and group settings. Typically, residents and their therapists meet once a week but additional meeting times can be added if necessary. Therapists will also work to keep family members updated with their client’s progress; many treatment centers will offer integrative family programs onsite.
At Pasadena Villa, we welcome family involvement. Our treatment teams strive to keep family members informed, as well as educate them on their loved one’s mental health diagnoses. We offer family members therapy sessions through a variety of methods including telephone, in-person, and video conferencing. Family involvement is a beneficial part of the recovery journey.
The treatment process is gradual. The first few therapy sessions will be geared towards helping the therapist better understand the needs of the client. Pasadena Villa offers an individualized treatment plan for the patient; an important element since no two client cases are the same. After the first session, the therapist will develop a comprehensive treatment plan that will meet the specific needs of the client. Therapists also conduct risk assessments and offer recommendations for groups that would benefit the patient the most. Program schedules are reviewed by the treatment center’s direct care staff. All meals and snacks are provided during residential treatment, and residents have an opportunity to review the menu for the week and request an alternative meal an hour prior to meal time. All residents are expected to be on time and stay for the entire duration of meal times. Pasadena Villa clients participate in a variety of groups including social, cultural, and recreational activities within the community. This variety provides clients with real life experiences that allow them to develop skills needed once outside of treatment.
Pasadena Villa currently owns and operates two state-of-the-art residential mental health treatment centers in Knoxville, Tennessee, and Orlando, Florida as well as an outpatient treatment center in Raleigh, North Carolina. Levels of care offered include intensive residential treatment, community-based residential treatment, day treatment and transitional living. Pasadena Villa prides itself on its trademarked Social Integration Model which helps clients to become more independent, build social skills and learn how to manage their symptoms better. If yourself or a loved one are ready to take the important step towards recovery, please fill out our contact form or call 877-845-5235 to learn more about Pasadena Villa’s treatment curriculum.