Trusted Content

Can I Visit A Family Member That Is In Rehab?

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

March 11, 2019

Visiting loved ones in rehab is encouraged by many centers to promote connection and support during rehabilitation. Understanding the guidelines of the center in advance can aid in a rewarding visit and set your mind at ease while your loved one is in recovery.

A Good Time To Visit

Many rehab facilities have guidelines for appropriate days, frequency, and times for family visitation. Many allow one visit per week with Sunday being the most common visitation day. This aids in establishing a healthy routine during the recovery process and allows patients to return to regularly scheduled activities following visits. When in doubt, contact the rehab center in advance to further explain specific guidelines regarding visitation.

Will Visitation Interfere With Recovery?

Families may worry that visitation will interfere with rehabilitation. Limiting the frequency of visits allow patients to remain connected without conflict of schedule or routine. In some cases, addiction leads to severed family ties and showing support and encouragement during the rehabilitation process can significantly improve relationships outside of the center. This makes the transition back home much easier. If there is a question of interference, be sure to talk with the coordinator for tips on making visits more beneficial.

What Should I Bring?

Many rehab facilities offer accommodations for those in treatment. Certain items are expected to be replenished by patients or their families, such as toiletries and funds. Long-term inpatient residents usually need outside help to meet these needs. When possible, call to check before visits to take an inventory of necessities.

Some additional items to consider while preparing for visitation include:

  • Photos, letters, and cards from home, to show your loved one that many people are supporting their recovery
  • Cash or change for vending machines
  • A calling card for telephone use
  • Laundry detergent and quarters
  • An approved favorite snack or beverage if unobtainable in the facility

Considering the needs of family members in recovery can have lasting effects and significantly improve the rehabilitation experience. Some items are restricted or monitored by the facility, including tobacco products, certain toiletries, and electronic devices. When in doubt, contact the rehab coordinator to avoid conflict of guidelines.

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Telephone Interaction And Written Correspondence

Family interaction, including telephone interaction and letters, is beneficial to those in rehab. Some facilities offer a telephone, but calls may be monitored by staff to prevent relapse within the facility. They may also be limited to a specified time of day for check-in. Letters sent to the facility are sent directly to the office and delivered to patients. Some things to consider when calling or writing a family member include:

  • Keep an encouraging tone in all correspondence by relaying positive messages from loved ones
  • Be sure to avoid gossip or negative talk that may distract from recovery or upset your loved one
  • Ask about the recovery process
  • Offer to help with communications with other family members
  • Take inventory of needs for visitation
  • Talk about future plans with your loved one
  • Counter any thoughts of “giving up” with encouragement to move forward

Remaining positive during interaction can strengthen bonds and help your loved one in recovery. Understanding and appreciating the effort on both ends can make a transition in and out of rehab smoother and lessen the likelihood of relapse. These interactions can also help patients feel less isolated and enhance the rehabilitation experience overall.

Family Support In Recovery

Rehabilitation is a long and difficult process with many obstacles. With family support, patients can see a dramatic improvement that often leads to lasting recovery. The impact of encouragement from loved ones can reach far beyond the walls of the rehab center and aid in reestablishing a place in the community upon release. This positive impact is invaluable in those seeking recovery.

We Can Help

Support is beneficial for both families and patients seeking rehabilitation. For more information regarding visiting a family member in rehab, feel free to contact the caring staff at We are here to answer any questions you may have and provide helpful tips to guide your loved one to a successful recovery.

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