Twenty miles outside Philadelphia is Valley Forge Medical Center and Hospital, which first opened as an alcohol detox back in 1972. Today, it provides a full spectrum of medical, psychiatric, counseling and social services for individuals suffering from chronic pain, addiction and related disorders. Operating in the belief that addiction is a disease and not merely a symptom of underlying pathology, the program at Valley Forge Medical Center and Hospital seeks to establish continued sobriety for its clients.
Accommodations and Food
The Valley Forge Medical Center and Hospital is found down a long tree-lined driveway in suburban Norristown, its wooded campus shielded from the road. From the outside, it looks more like a country club than a hospital, sided in stately brick, with white paned windows and fireplaces. Turns out it was once the home of David Rittenhouse, a colonial era patriot and astronomer. There are 86 beds in the residential treatment facility, where clients share rooms and bathrooms and some basic chores. Three meals a day are provided buffet style and served in the cafeteria. Clients aren’t expected to cook, but there is a washer and dryer on-site and they are responsible for doing their own laundry.
Treatment and Staff
Some treatment centers only do intake in person; Valley Forge Medical Center and Hospital does it by phone interview. One of the advantages of getting treatment at a hospital is being able to detox on arrival. There are two levels of detox—hospital and residential. Hospital level care is for clients going through acute withdrawal mandating 24-hour care and observation. Valley Forge Medical Center and Hospital offers Subutex and methadone to clients who need medication through the withdrawal process. Clients in residential level detox also receive medication management and therapeutic consultation, but don’t require around-the-clock care.
Valley Forge Medical Center and Hospital treats clients with substance abuse as well as co-occurring disorders like depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. Dual diagnosis clients have one-on-one sessions with a psychiatrist throughout treatment in addition to the substance abuse program.
There are two levels of inpatient treatment. The hospital level rehab is 10 to 28 days and includes the initial detox; residential level rehab accommodates longer-term stays—up to four months—and a gradual step down in level of care. In both programs, clients are educated about how to live sober. There is group and individual therapy as well as family counseling. Though Valley Forge Medical Center and Hospital believes in the important role family plays in both an addiction and in recovery, the extent of family involvement is determined by the client. If family is involved, they have to attend a mandatory education group on Saturdays and Sundays for an hour with their loved one in treatment.
Group therapy takes up most of the daily schedule, including process groups, psychoeducational lectures on addiction and relapse prevention classes. There are activity therapists on staff leading experiential groups, including art therapy. Clients are also expected to attend 12-step meetings; the medical center hosts on-site meetings every day.
Valley Forge Medical Center and Hospital is required to have a staff-to-client ratio of at least five-to-one, although they strive to keep the ratio lower than that to optimize patient care. A busy, multidisciplinary team of physicians with specialties in addictionology and pain management, nurses, social workers and therapists work together to provide the best care possible.
There are specific tracks for pain management, Spanish speakers, chronic relapsers and dual diagnosis. The Addiction-Free Pain Management Program is the newest of the hospital’s services and has gotten some positive press. There is a spirituality room for clients to connect with their version of a Higher Power.
Valley Forge Medical Center and Hospital offers solid substance abuse treatment, comprehensive detox services and extended residential care. With more than 40 years in operation, no matter what new clients bring to the table, there’s a good chance these guys have seen it before.
Valley Forge Medical Center and Hospital
1033 W Germantown Pike
Norristown, PA 19403
Valley Forge Medical Center and Hospital Cost: $2,450-$3,850 (30 Days). Reach Valley Forge Medical Center and Hospital by phone at (610) 539-8500 or by email at [email protected]. Find Valley Forge Medical Center and Hospital on Facebook and LinkedIn
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