Started in 1884 in a single room in a rented house, Flushing Hospital Medical Center (FHMC) is now a 293-bed, not-for-profit teaching hospital in one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Queens, New York. Since 1991, Flushing Hospital Medical Center has been offering its community medical detox combined with therapeutic services and outpatient treatment for substance abuse and co-occurring disorders.
Accommodations and Food
The residential portion at Flushing Hospital is a 30-bed coed detox unit. Located on the fourth floor of the hospital, there are two clients to a room with a shared bathroom. The environment is traditional hospital décor with linoleum floors, a privacy curtain between beds and individual nightstands. What sets this detox apart from other hospital units are the television room, the small kitchen area for meals and snacks and the two rooms for group and individual therapy.
Meals are prepared by licensed hospital dieticians (who can accommodate special dietary requests) and brought to the unit three times per day. Breakfast is always a protein, toast or potatoes and coffee or tea. Lunch is chicken, cold sandwiches, hot dogs, hamburgers and a salad or vegetable. At dinner there is usually a protein with pasta, rice or potatoes, vegetables or salad and dessert. Cereal, fruit and yogurt are always stocked in the unit kitchen.
Treatment and Staff
The Chemical Dependency Unit is a medically managed detox unit offering safe withdrawal from drugs and alcohol. Suboxone is used for opiate withdrawal, Librium for alcohol and clients are also given other medications. The chemical dependency physician monitors all medication and the unit psychiatrist monitors all clients with co-occurring disorders.
Detox clients stay anywhere from three to 14 days, depending on their physical condition, and treatment begins in the detox unit. Residents who are physically stable attend educational groups focusing on addiction and family dynamics and participate in art therapy. Group therapy topics include stress reduction techniques, relapse prevention and mindfulness practices. The unit also hosts 12-step meetings in order to introduce clients to an outside sober community.
The treatment team consists of a unit physician who oversees all detox medication, a psychiatrist, 24-hour nursing staff, social workers, two MFTs, LCDCs and CDCAs. The client-to-staff ratio is six-to-one.
Once clients are released from the detox unit, the hope is that they will continue treatment on the third floor of Flushing Hospital, in the Reflections Outpatient Program. Reflections offers outpatient treatment for substance abuse and co-occurring disorders to adults 18 and over, not just to the detox grads. The Reflections program promotes abstinence and encourages clients to attend 12-step meetings outside of treatment. Group therapy, gender specific groups (often dealing with trauma), individual therapy and family counseling are combined in treatment and the staff psychiatrist is available for dual diagnosis support.
The most structured level of treatment is intensive outpatient or IOP. IOP clients meet three times per week for three hours each day, with morning and evening options available. Duration varies depending on the assessment but typically IOP lasts for 12 weeks. Individuals are assigned to specific groups and all IOP clients have individual therapy once a week. Group topics include fun in recovery, meditation, relaxation, relapse prevention, goals, stress reduction techniques and addiction studies.
The traditional outpatient program is usually eight weeks, but can be shorter depending on the client’s progress and schedule. Clients meet once a week for three hours and individual therapy is assigned on an as needed basis. The outpatient program is a scaled back version of IOP, with the same group topics and family programming. A LCDC facilitates all group and individual therapy sessions and family therapy is facilitated by an MFT.
Reflections addresses the impact substance abuse has on not only the individual but the family as well, by also offering group therapy for loved ones. Family members are encouraged to attend family education group on Thursday nights, where a LCDC facilitates an educational class on families and addiction. For those willing to participate, family therapy sessions are scheduled at the convenience of family members, without the client present.
Flushing Hospital provides solid, abstinence based substance abuse treatment at an affordable cost. While they lack a longer-term residential option, they do provide group therapy, dual diagnosis support and 12-step meetings for clients to begin treatment in detox. The outpatient services are structured and the focused family program is a definite plus. The fact that Reflections is run by the hospital would suggest that any other pertinent medical services are just a referral away.
Flushing Hospital Medical Center
4500 Parsons Blvd
Flushing, NY 11355
Flushing Hospital Medical Center Cost: Sliding scale. Reach Flushing Hospital Medical Center by phone at (718) 670-5000. Find Flushing Hospital Medical Center on Facebook
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