FAQ: During Residential Phase

What is the residential length of stay?

Our residential treatment stay is 3 months (12 weeks).

Upon discharge from the residential phase, intensive aftercare programming (Assertive Continuing Care) goes into effect for another 12 weeks so to help program participants adapt to their new lifestyle in their home environment and, in the process, reduce the risk of relapse. Under specific circumstances of client need, the residential stay can be extended to four months.

What is a typical day like during residential treatment?

Although every day is somewhat unique, residential treatment is purposely both structured and consistent. Typical activities include a set wake-up and bedtime, as well as scheduled meals, recreation, chores, schooling and group and individual clinical programming. Weekends are slightly less prescribed, however we aim to keep our youth clients as busy as reasonably possible so to maximize their treatment gains.

Are clients locked up or retained against their will?

No. Our residential sites are NOT lockdown facilities and clients can leave at virtually any time given our program is voluntary in nature. We do, however, try to engage and retain youth in treatment so to maximize treatment gains. We also restrict when unplanned discharges occur so to ensure any transition out of residential is accomplished safely.

What if a client chooses to discharge from residential before completing treatment?

If a client decides to self-discharge from residential treatment, staff will contact (as consent permits) caregivers and other key stakeholders in a timely manner so to facilitate a safe and smooth transition. Clients who self-discharge will also receive Assertive Continuing Care programming for up to a 3-month period following their discharge.

How does DSYTC keep clients safe during their residential stay?

Youth clients are continuously supervised and clinical staff members have been trained to effectively cope with problematic behaviours that may arise, intervening prior to them posing any significant threat.

A combination of internal alarms and video monitoring of common areas are in place to assist in fostering the safety and well-being of clients and staff alike.

Furthermore, DSYTC team members strive to ensure that alcohol and/or drugs are not brought into the facilities, and it is for this reason that we do perform a thorough search of client’s clothing and suitcase upon admission (as well as following home visits).

Lastly, the DSYTC maintains a very active Health & Safety Committee that continuously examines potential safety threats and helps implement policies and procedures to mitigate these risks.

How much does residential treatment cost at the DSYTC?

There are no formal fees for our services, however government funding does not cover the costs of off-site extra-curricular recreational activities, client spending money (e.g., personal hygiene products, clothing needs, etc.) and emergency return fare. The DSYTC does all that is possible to ensure financial circumstances do not become a barrier to residential treatment participation – kindly speak to the DSYTC Intake Coordinator should special accommodation be required.

All funds provided to the DSYTC are accounted for via a signed receipt and are retained in a secure location. All unused funds are returned at the time of program discharge. The total amount required (recreational, spending and emergency travel return costs) is confirmed in discussion with the DSYTC Intake Coordinator. Please note that in instances where a youth has been observed or admitted to causing damage to DSYTC facilities or property, proportionate funds will be retained to cover the costs of repair and/or replacement.

How is the high prevalence of mental health issues addressed?

Psychiatric consultation, assessment and treatment (e.g., pharmacotherapy) are available to all residential and continuing care clients. As well, in addition to enhancing internal staff competencies in this domain, the DSYTC has also developed strong partnerships with specialized mental health services at the Royal and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO).

How are prescription medications taken in residential care?

Medication may be taken while in residential care, as long as a psychiatrist or other physician prescribed it upon thorough assessment, and caregivers (where applicable) and the youth agree with the recommendation. Medications prescribed 30+ days from the admission date will need to be confirmed through the prescribing doctor prior to being approved for use while in residential. There will be some occasions where a psychiatric assessment during residential care will lead to a recommendation for medication.

Please note that only a physician and/or pharmacist can fully explain the potential benefits and/or risks and side effects of any medication.

Clinical staff oversee the self-disbursement and ingestion of medication as per our medication policy.

Can clients smoke cigarettes or use tobacco of any kind while in residential treatment?

No, the DSYTC is a smoke-free facility. Consistent with our philosophy of healthy lifestyle attainment, tobacco use of any kind is not permitted while in residential treatment at the DSYTC. This includes during outings or other activities that occur off DSYTC property. If required, clients can be provided with Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) such as the patch and/or lozenges to help with nicotine withdrawal. Smoking cessation counselling is also provided as part of the DSYTC program. Note: For pregnant youth and those under 18 years of age, Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) may not be provided without specific medical consent. 

Do you have academic programming?

Yes. Residential clients receive individualized academic programming and are able to earn high school credits through our partnership with the M.F. McHugh Education Centre (September through July). Support for college, university, ILC’s or other academic programming is also available for those who have completed high school.

How will caregivers know how their youth is doing?

Caregivers are strongly encouraged to stay in regular contact with their youth’s therapist by way of telephone calls, email and counselling sessions throughout residential treatment, as well as during the continuing care phase.

We are always subject to the privacy rights of the youth under the consent to release information legislation, which may prohibit the degree of information sharing at times.

Can youth make and receive telephone calls and visits while in residential treatment?

Clients are able to receive and place select telephone calls throughout their time in residential treatment. However, in order to avoid programming interruptions and to maintain programming consistency, phone calls are only permitted at select times and with select individuals (determined in consultation with the youth).

Caregivers are strongly encouraged to visit their youth while they are partaking in residential treatment (siblings are also welcome to visit as are extended family members – space permitting). Scheduled visiting times typically occur on weekends.

Are there home visits during residential treatment?

In order to support and facilitate full reintegration and rehabilitation into real life environments, weekend home visits are often provided. These visits generally occur after a minimum of 2 months of residential treatment, and ample notice is provided so that the therapist involved can help both the youth and family prepare for a successful visit. Please note that families are responsible for covering all necessary travel expenses that may be incurred as a result of such visits.

What if families need support while their youth is receiving services from DSYTC?

Caregiver involvement is a critically important part of our treatment process. Specific services include caregiver support, family counselling and educational groups. Such family services are available to caregivers of youth within the residential program, as well as those who qualify for residential admission but are on the waitlist, as well as those engaged in ACC aftercare.

Potential reasons for family therapy referral include: unhealthy family communication, substantial family conflict, poor boundary awareness/adherence, need for transitional support, parental role modeling enhancement, difficulty coping with high emotional distress, etc. Parents are encouraged to talk to their youth’s Therapist or ACC Counsellor to inquire further about these services.