How to Choose the Best Residential Mental Health Facility

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Deciding to enter residential treatment is a significant step, especially for those who find that outpatient treatment isn’t meeting their needs. Finding the best residential mental health facilities can be daunting. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the seven crucial factors to consider, ensuring you make an informed decision tailored to your unique needs.

7 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Residential Mental Health Facility

The following seven factors are the most important when researching residential mental health care facilities.

1. Why the Right Accreditation Matters

Accredited residential healthcare organizations adhere to rigorous guidelines, ensuring a high standard of care. Look for accreditations from reputable organizations such as The Joint Commission or the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. 

Remember, not all accreditations are created equal; some are more prestigious and may offer higher-quality care. For instance, The Joint Commission accreditation indicates that the facility meets the highest quality and safety standards.

2. The Importance of a Valid License

Ensure the facility is legally authorized to provide care. Check for approvals from entities like the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS). 

Be cautious if a facility is unwilling to provide licensing information, as this could be a red flag indicating subpar or even illegal operations.

3. Understanding Their Treatment Philosophy

Different facilities focus on various aspects of recovery, such as support groups, holistic approaches, or evidence-based treatments. Make sure the center’s approach aligns with your healthcare provider’s recommendations as well as your personal goals and values. A mismatch in treatment philosophy can hinder your recovery.

4. Treatment Options Available

Not all facilities offer the same range of treatment and therapy options. Facilities often specialize in mood disorders or self-harm. Some offer dual diagnosis treatment, crucial for those with co-occurring conditions like anxiety and depression. The treatment options available will be a major factor in whether a particular facility is the right match for an individual’s needs.

5. Staff Credentials

Don’t hesitate to inquire about the staff’s training and experience. A multidisciplinary team, including medical personnel, psychologists, and possibly even nutritionists or physical therapists, can provide a more holistic approach to your care.

6. Real Client Satisfaction Levels

While you can find testimonials on a facility’s website, focus on third-party reviews for a more balanced perspective. Websites like Healthgrades or Google Reviews can offer insights from previous patients.

7. The Cost & Insurance Factor

Residential care can be expensive, ranging from $10,000 to $60,000 per month. Likewise, check if your insurance covers any costs and understand the payment structure. Some facilities may offer financial aid options, scholarships, or sliding scale fees.

How To Narrow Down Your Options

The first thing to do is contact facility representatives. Most reputable facilities have websites with information about their services, reputation, accreditation, location, and contact details. 

Look for an email address or phone number. Both are good ways to ask questions, request a facility tour, or speak with a representative. Visiting the facility and speaking with employees is one of the best ways to determine whether this treatment center fits your needs.

Questions to Ask During a Facility Tour

When touring a potential facility, it’s crucial to ask the right questions to ensure they meet your needs. Here are some questions you might consider:

  • What is the staff-to-patient ratio?
  • What types of therapy do you offer?
  • How do you handle medical emergencies or crises?
  • Can you accommodate special dietary needs?
  • What is your visitation policy?
  • Do you offer aftercare or transitional programs?
  • What is the average length of stay?
  • How is the family involved in the treatment process?

These questions can give you a clearer picture of what life would be like at the facility and whether it aligns with your treatment goals.

Red Flags to Watch Out for

While touring or researching facilities, be vigilant for any red flags that could indicate subpar care or a mismatch for your needs. These could include:

  • Lack of proper accreditation or licensing
  • Outdated treatment methods
  • Poor staff-to-patient ratio
  • Negative reviews or unresolved complaints
  • Lack of individualized treatment plans
  • High staff turnover

Being aware of these red flags can help you make a more informed decision and avoid facilities that may not provide the level of care you need.

Some facilities do not offer tours to protect the privacy of their residents. This is completely normal, but you should still be able to get answers to all of your questions over the phone or via email.

Finding the Right Residential Mental Health Facility: Take the Next Step

Choosing the best residential mental health facility is crucial for your mental health journey. Use the criteria outlined in this article to make an informed decision. Ready to take the next step? Speak with your healthcare provider today to discuss your options and perhaps even get recommendations for facilities that align with your treatment goals.

Written by: Onyx Behavioral Health Admin

The Onyx Behavioral Health Editorial Team includes content experts that contribute to this online publication. Editors and mental health experts review our blogs carefully for accuracy and relevance. We reference authority organizations such as The National Institute of Mental Health and NAMI for the latest research, data, and news to provide our readers with the most up-to-date mental illness and recovery-related content.

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