Medical & Psychiatric Services
What the Government Wants You To Know Before Purchasing Private Drug Rehab:
The following information is adapted from the Residential Treatment for Teens page of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s * (FTC) Consumer Information website. The following questions are equally appropriate to ask a Canadian private treatment provider for adults:
How do you handle medical issues like illness or injury? Is there a nurse or doctor on staff? On the premises? Will you contact family members? Will family members be notified or consulted if there’s a change in treatment or medication?
FTC: “Ask for copies of procedures the program follows on dealing with medical emergencies.”
Our clients benefit from a medical unit staffed by medical professionals. Nurses are on site 24/7, while the physician and psychiatrist are on site every Tuesday and Thursday. Unlike many treatment facilities, all clients see our physician within 24 hours of admission and the psychiatrist within 7 days of admission. Pending client consent, medical issues, injuries, and changes in medication will be communicated to family members upon request. Medical emergencies are dealt with as per provincial licensing regulations.
* Note: The U.S. Federal Trade Commission works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them.
Assessment refers to the process of evaluating the health of an individual and is typically carried out by a licensed health professional. Sunshine Coast Health Centre (SCHC) provides clients with both a medical and psychiatric assessment:
A medical assessment is an important component of addiction treatment. Newly admitted clients undergo a urine drug screen which helps identify presenting mood-altering substances. Confirming the presence or absence of drugs will help predict what withdrawal symptoms are likely to occur and help nursing staff adhere to withdrawal protocols.
Within 24 hours, newly-admitted clients receive a medical assessment by our medical director. The medical assessment involves observation to determine if additional detoxification, a review of medication, and/or lab work* is needed. During examination, the medical director will decide whether a client is ready to leave detox and move to residence.
* Lab work is primarily used to screen for medical complications.
Why This Is Important For You:
Medical assessments are important because many clients addicts neglect their physical health. This neglect often leads brain and internal organ damage and disease. Unfortunately, drinking and drug-using makes it difficult for friends and family members to detect illness. That is why medical assessments are mandatory at Sunshine Coast Health Centre and are always scheduled within 24 hours of a client’s admission.
Mental health assessments help diagnose the existence and extent of mental health problems. During the initial stages of addiction treatment, a provisional psychiatric diagnosis is critical for developing a treatment plan.
Expertise in assessment and psychotropic drug therapy is critical in concurrent treatment. SCHC clients participate in an initial psychiatric assessment, consisting of a client history, mental state examination, impressions and recommendations. As part of psychiatric services, our clients receive ongoing psychiatric care, which includes medication monitoring by nursing staff.
Why This is Important for You
Psychiatric assessments are important because many clients have struggled for years with mental health issues that have been hidden by their addiction. Because we are a residential facility clients can withdraw from drugs or alcohol before they see the psychiatrist. As a result, the psychiatrist can get a clear picture of any underlying mental illness. Furthermore, clients have the benefit of continuous monitoring by our nursing team which facilitates ongoing adjustments to medication dosage and frequency.
Drug therapy, or pharmacotherapy, is the treatment of disorders using medications. Medications can be used to help with different aspects of the addiction treatment process.
Medications offer help in suppressing withdrawal symptoms during detoxification. Our medical unit staff uses medical protocols. Any medications prescribed to clients prior to admission will be reviewed by our medical director.
Clients whose primary drug of choice is an opioid-based street drug (e.g. heroin, fentanyl, etc.) or pain reliever (e.g. Oxycontin®, Percocet® or Dilaudid®, etc.) are enrolled in our Suboxone Treatment program while in detox our primary programming. Clients on methadone/Methadose are able to transfer over to Suboxone while at SCHC. Prior to leaving, clients receive education on their Suboxone prescription as well as a Naloxone Kit. Suboxone Treatment clients are also set up with a physician in their home community who will continue their Suboxone prescription. Clients can come back to SCHC to taper off Suboxone after 1 year of use if they wish*. This service is a complimentary part of the client’s original treatment program.
For more information, see our Suboxone Treatment page.
*Only for clients in our treatment programs.
Treating mental illness is a critical element of contemporary addiction treatment. The use of psychotropic¹ drug therapy must be considered carefully, factoring in a client’s existing prescription regimen and any co-existing medical conditions. Knowing that clients are compromised by chemical dependency requires careful consideration and, when possible, the use of alternative drugs that have a lower risk of dependence.
¹ The Oxford dictionary defines “psychotropic” as relating to drugs that affect a person’s mental state.
² “Concurrent” means existing, happening, or done at the same time.
Why This is Important for You
Psychotropic Drug Therapy
Psychiatric assessments help identify other mental health issues besides addiction that may also be presenting in a client. Many times these issues such as trauma, depression and anxiety are not easily identified because addiction often has the same symptoms, resulting in a ‘masking’ effect where the mental health issue goes unnoticed. While with us, all of our clients receive a psychiatric assessment one week after a client’s admission (to allow for detoxification). Detoxification assists the psychiatrist in ruling out drugs and alcohol when assessing for other mental health issues. Unlike many treatment centres, psychiatric assessment is mandatory at SCHC and is not left to the discretion of a client’s counsellor. A client’s psychiatric assessment is performed before his treatment plan is designed so that the mental health issue is addressed while in treatment.
Medications for Co-Existing Medical Conditions (excluding Psychiatric Conditions)
An important, but often overlooked application for drug therapy in addiction treatment addresses co-existing medical conditions such as communicable disease (HIV, Hepatitis C, etc.) and chronic disease (diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.). Older clients may also struggle with dementia, liver failure, lung disease, among others. One of the advantages of having an our onsite medical unit is the ability to assess, diagnose and treat disease that may have gone undetected or neglected due to addiction.
I notice many improvements while in the trauma program. My sleeping issues have been resolved. This has been an issue for many years. I was on medication and treatment for that too. Today, I no longer take medication for sleeping and I sleep very well. My concentration went up and my isolation and energy problems have been resolved. BrainPaint was beneficial in healing the mind as well as the body.
We are very pleased with Julian's progress and credit your program as well as to his own commitment. His greater self-awareness, deepening tolerance, and patience has come from a better understanding of himself and is really helping him to move forward constructively.