Before patients with substance use disorders (SUD) can submit themselves for psychological treatment in a residential rehabilitation centre, they may be required to undergo medical detoxification to stabilise their physical and mental condition. Relatively serious physical injuries and illnesses also have to be healed.

Patients with behaviour disorders, even those with no history of substance use disorder, may also be required to have physical injuries or illnesses medically healed prior to psychotherapy. The primary providers of these medical services are medical doctors, psychiatrists, hospitals, medical clinics and pharmacies.

Ongoing Access to Medical Care

Some psychological rehabilitation centres have in-house clinics or medical personnel, but most usually have standing arrangements with private or outsourced medical entities to provide services and products whenever it is required, for both routine and emergency purposes. This is usually a referral service and patients are allowed to make use of other, acceptable medical entities if they choose to.

When patients receive medication, it is usually held and distributed by an employee of the rehabilitation centre, in accordance with the prescription stipulations. Only in exceptional cases, such as patients with asthma or cardiovascular disorders, may patients be allowed to keep a limited supply of medication on their person for emergency use.

As a rule, residential rehabilitation centres expect patients to make prior arrangements for obtaining medical services and products with their therapists. Apart from the obvious need for centres to have reasonable control over the type and usage pattern of medication, therapists also need to be aware of the condition of patients, so that the patient’s treatment program can be modified when new information emerges.

Apart from transport to the nearest facility, the financial costs related to medical services and products are for the patient’s account, but rehabilitation centres typically ensure that preferred medical service and product providers accept medical insurance and medical aid schemes.