The Congaree, Saluda and Broad Rivers all come together just a few miles east of Three Rivers Behavioral Health in Columbia, South Carolina. It is from here that Three Rivers provides rehabilitation for seniors, adults and adolescents struggling with mental health issues, including addiction, from its location on Sunset Boulevard, a street lined with banks, churches and restaurants. It offers a continuum of care, from detox and inpatient acute stabilization for those with co-occurring disorders to outpatient services.
Accommodations and Food
There are 118 beds total at the Three Rivers Behavioral Health facility, and approximately 108 are available to clients struggling with chemical dependency. There are 36 in the crisis stabilization unit, which admits dual diagnosis clients, 36 in the adult short-term substance abuse inpatient unit, 20 in the geriatric short-term inpatient unit and 16 in the adolescent unit. All units are co-ed; clients sleep in twin beds, sharing rooms and en suite bathrooms. There are no private rooms available in any unit.
The inpatient stays are shorter than at most rehabs, maxing out at a couple of weeks max. Clients are expected to keep their bedrooms tidy. They don’t participate in preparing their own meals, which are served three times a day, buffet style, in the cafeteria. A successful attempt has been made to make the dining room less institutional—the sunny cafeteria has long white tables and baby blue-and-white dollhouse cute chairs.
Treatment and Staff
Clients with a substance abuse problem often begin their treatment at Three Rivers with medical detox, which may take one to seven days to complete. Suboxone is offered to those in serious withdrawal. If clients are experiencing acute psychological distress in addition to their need for detox, they are admitted into the crisis stabilization unit.
All clients have daily check-ins with a psychiatrist. At some inpatient programs, this is hard to manage as there are just one or two psychiatrists on staff, but Three Rivers has six. Once clients are well enough, they participate in group therapy that often focuses on self-realization and relapse prevention, and typically arrange with a counselor to step down to outpatient care. Clients are usually only in this level of inpatient care for up to one week, or 10 days at the most. Three Rivers Behavioral Health employs various treatment modalities that include group processing therapy, Motivational Interviewing (MI) and the 12-step philosophy. Three Rivers tries to keep its groups to 10 or 15 participants in order to keep the staff-to-client ratio low. While in treatment, clients attend on-site AA and NA meetings.
While there are beds set aside for adolescent and seniors with chemical dependency issues, both programs are framed to treat a wide variety of significant behavioral health issue. The adolescent programs see kids between the ages of 11 and 17. All adolescents participate in family, individual and group therapy, as well as activity therapy. Similarly, seniors are admitted to Three Rivers typically for behavioral health issues like depression, anxiety and dementia; knowing that depression and excessive prescriptions can lead to substance abuse, Three Rivers has incorporated chemical dependency treatment into its program. All seniors participate in social work group, medical education groups, current events group, animal-assisted therapy and recreation therapy. All clients with co-occurring addiction issues also attend on-site AA and NA meetings.
Once clients are discharged, they have the option of entering the Three Rivers Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), where they have the option of day and evening groups. IOP meets three to four times a week. Day groups meet Monday, Wednesday and Thursday between 9 am and 12:30 pm, evening groups Monday through Thursday from 5:30 to 8:30 pm. Some clients who come to IOP are new to recovery and are taught about the 12-step philosophy in groups. All clients are encouraged to attend 12-step meetings in the community. In other groups, clients discuss how to hone relapse prevention skills and how to navigate a sober lifestyle. Individual meetings with a licensed counselor are available as needed.
As mentioned above, this is not a typical residential substance abuse program; alternative therapies are reserved for the adolescent and senior populations. Recreation for seniors means chair exercises, gardening and walking. Therapy dogs are also brought onto the unit. Adolescent clients have art and family therapy.
IOP clients have family program on Tuesday evenings. Three Rivers offers a multi-family group where families of clients are invited to participate and learn more about addiction and recovery.
Besides chemical dependency, Three Rivers offers strictly psychiatric care at inpatient, Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) and intensive outpatient levels. They also offer a school program for adolescents with behavioral health issues.
Three Rivers Behavioral Health accepts self-pay, Medicare, private and military insurance, but doesn’t offer sliding fees or payment assistance programs. The inpatient care at this facility is for people whose addictions and/or mental health issues have brought them to a point of severe unmanageability—people are in life or death crisis and need immediate help and not necessarily the standard rehab 28 days. That’s why Three Rivers has such a developed IOP program, so that their clients stay on for continued care.
Three Rivers Behavioral Health Main Campus
2900 Sunset Blvd
West Columbia, SC 29169
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