Stick with the Discharge Plan
- Talk with the staff of the residential facility. Talk with the professionals who are caring for your teens to get a discharge plan in place that indicates exactly how, where, and when to get involved in follow-up services. This discharge plan should include a comprehensive outline that describes the six months after discharge. Learn how best to set up aftercare services and what role the treatment center will take in those months. For instance, some programs provide in-home services, respite school, and can even offer assistance placing your teen in a school. Does the program provide recommendations or contacts? Do they have a service which will handle the scheduling of appointments?
- Be honest about your concerns regarding discharge. Talk with the staff at the treatment center frankly about the environment at your home. Cover both strengths and weaknesses of your home as they relate to your teenager’s potential success there. Discuss the discharge with your daughter to understand her worries, as well. Ask her what kind of support she anticipates needing as well.
- Set up services for your teen. Whether it is counseling or opportunities for community service, make sure to schedule appointments in advance so that the transition from the residential facility is as smooth as possible, avoiding interruptions in treatment, especially medication. The goal is for your teen to move from the facility to your home with at least a week of medications so that you’ll have ample time to fill any prescriptions.
- Family therapy. Family therapy, whether through the treatment center or an outside service, can be a powerful tool. As a parent, you can even consider beginning these sessions before your teen’s return home. Once they have discharged, weekly meetings in the family home can be helpful, as well. Your teen will be experiencing a bit of shock coming from such a highly structured environment into a family home. Making every attempt to continue this structure is beneficial to these teens. Improving communication at home can also ease the transition for any siblings who might have a hard time understanding what’s going on or have any concerns about it.