Suffolk County’s Saint Charles Hospital—also known as Eastern Long Island Hospital—is a division of Catholic Health Services of Long Island. Saint Charles was established as Brooklyn Home in 1907, when French nuns from the Order of the Daughters of Wisdom accepted homeless children with disabilities from Brooklyn, New York, to stay in a modest house in Port Jefferson, Long Island. Changing its name to Saint Charles Hospital in 1910, the now-sprawling campus currently serves patients of all kinds, including adults suffering from substance abuse and co-occurring disorders.
Accommodations and Food
Three daily meals are served at the hospital cafeteria, where clients dine alongside the general hospital and visitor population. A staff dietitian consults on all menus and clients with most dietary restrictions can be accommodated.
Treatment and Staff
St. Charles’ guiding philosophy with regard to alcohol and chemical dependency is that recovery begins when a client is willing. Thus staff provides a mixture of CBT and 12-step principles, with the goal of relapse prevention. While its Catholic pedigree guarantees the availability of Christian pastoral care as part of the therapeutic toolbox, St. Charles welcomes all clients, regardless of their beliefs.
After a phone assessment and in-person intake conducted by a staff member, clients are given an individualized treatment plan. Urine and breathalyzer tests are also administered. No client is turned away from the detox program for lack of finances. The inpatient rehab offers individual, group and family therapy for 30-40 clients at a time. Because St. Charles believes substance abuse is both a disease and a symptom, groups address the biomedical factors of addiction as well as the behavioral and emotional hurdles clients face. Of paramount importance is the successful reintegration of the client into their family, job and society.
Clients begin the day with breakfast at the hospital cafeteria followed by a community meeting to discuss unit issues and activities. Next, the group meets for a one hour and fifteen minute group therapy session. They break for 45 minutes, then come together for a lecture pertaining to substance abuse or more therapy. Lunch is next, followed by an on-site 12-step meeting, then an art and recreation hour devoted to work with art therapists or other contracted professionals. Clients eat dinner together and finish the day with a 12-step meeting on campus.
The inpatient program is structured for a 21-day stay. Staff include four full-time counselors as well as nurses, Master’s-level social workers and psychologists. All counselors are certified under the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS). Prior to discharge clients are given information on area support groups with an emphasis on continuing their 12-step work.
St. Charles has remained operational despite the recent closure of many substance abuse treatment centers on Long Island. With its hospital setting and Catholic history, the program at St. Charles presents as bare bones by comparison with boutique rehabs in Manhattan and the Hamptons, but offers a solid 12-step approach for a reasonable price.
Saint Charles Hospital
200 Belle Terre Rd
Port Jefferson, NY 11777
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