Need help? You’ve come to the right place
We’ve pulled together the answers to the most commonly asked questions and concerns about the services we offer at Livingstone House. If you want to know anything more, please just get in touch via the contact page, we’d love to chat with you.
Questions asked by residents/potential service users
How do I get referred to you?
You can be referred by a healthcare professional or GP, or you can simply call us yourself and we will make an initial assessment over the phone.
If you fulfil our criteria, we will invite you to come to us on a specific day and time. You MUST attend when we tell you, or you may lose your place with us. When you come to Livingstone House, bring your clothes and personal items with you, for your stay. DO NOT bring weapons, knives, drugs or alcohol. Anyone found in possession of these items will be asked to leave and lose their place.
Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate pets and you cannot leave your own vehicle at the homes…so public transport or a lift from a friend or family member are better options.
Your stay with us covers accommodation, bills and food. Dependent on your circumstances, your stay can be privately funded, or may be eligible for funding by the local authority. Please call us and we can advise.
What happens during treatment?
We have a full programme, which includes counselling sessions, treatment, consultations with medical staff, pastoral care and complementary therapies.The days are structured, you will know what you are doing each day and you are obliged to attend the sessions as advised to you. Livingstone House should not be regarded as a ‘quick fix’. it took you a long time to get into this situation, so you’re not going to be able to change your life in a week! But, you’ll find the time goes quite quickly. There’s always something going on, all of which are positive steps in the right direction.
What are the living facilities like?
We have three residential units, all in the Central Birmingham area. We take referrals from people across the United Kingdom, so you do not have to live locally to be able to utilise our service.Our homes are warm, clean and comfortable. They are normal, family homes, offering shared accommodation in bedrooms that you will share with other service users. As well as the bedrooms, we have communal living areas which include a lounge, dining room, kitchen and gardens. Everyone gets involved with housekeeping and you are expected to keep yourself, your room and the home clean and tidy. The staff have separate accommodations within the property, which are private and not accessible to residents.
Can my friends/family visit?
Your family are allowed to visit you and, subject to your progress, you will be allowed to go out with your family and friends when they visit you.There are strict rules and curfew’s to which you must adhere. They are part of the treatment programme and are there to help you in your recovery.
How much does treatment cost?
Private patients would be self funding for either a standalone detox or a complete programme of detox and rehab and aftercare if required.
The Livingstone House charity bed is means tested, which means it is for people who cannot get local authority funding or cannot afford to pay for treatment.
The Livingstone House Priority charity bed is for people who need to get into treatment more urgently and have access to some funds.
Once residents have completed their residential stay they are given the option of moving to Livingstone Lodge.
Here they will continue to attend for aftercare at Livingstone House and have two structured groups per week. Residents are still expected to adhere to a specific set of conditions of residence and house expectations whilst resident at Livingstone Lodge. Whilst at Livingstone Lodge residents are encouraged to reintegrate back into the community, attend 12 step fellowship meetings and pursue educational, training and vocational qualifications. In addition we encourage the independent development of the living and life skills which residents have gained whilst in treatment.
Livingstone House have a very close working relationship with the Department of Work and Pensions, Medical Services and Pathways to Work and liaise with them in order to maximise the help and support that residents receive. In addition to supporting residents in accessing voluntary working opportunities, we also offer the facility for residents at an appropriate stage of their stay at Livingstone Lodge to volunteer their time at Livingstone House and to study for an Apprenticeship and/or NVQ Level 3 in Health and Social Care which includes DANOS (Drug and Alcohol National Occupational Standards).
We encourage residents to stay at Livingstone House for the duration of their programme and we will support residents in accessing their own tenancy with local social housing trusts.
Questions asked by friends/family/employers
How do I talk to someone about their drinking/drug abuse?
Writing a letter
Once in treatment we encourage supportive letters, and social connections. All letters are scan read for appropriateness. What you may think is ok, from our experience can be detrimental. E.g. High Frequency of letters can lead to fixation on what is happening outside the treatment setting. Permission giving language or diarising events that give excuses for your loved one to leave. Explicit language or promotion of inappropriate topics.
We also ask families at specific points to write a damage letter, detailing specific events, emotions, and general feeling towards your loved. Ideally this should lay out significant life events and ways in which their addiction has impacted you as a family. This will be explained in more details by support staff and you will be guided through this.
Meet with us
Contact with your loved one will be via, 20 min Phone calls -twice weekly and 30 min Video calls once weekly.
Visiting is after 4 weeks, and once a mediation session has been facilitated. Visiting is 3 hours long externally so your family can take you out of the treatment environment every two weeks.
From 17 weeks your visiting can increase to 8 hours.
From 20 weeks over night stays are negotiable depending on travel times.
Support for you
Telephone line direct to Staff office operates 24 hours per day.
Key workers will be assigned to your loved one and they will offer family support, and signposting in the community.
Family workshops and open days are offered at points throughout the year.
Questions asked by medical professionals
What intervention methods do you use?
Thiamine – This helps to stimulate appetite, help repair the central nervous system, elevate short term memory loss and help to rebalance to body’s vitamin loss.
Carbamazapine – This is given as a precaution, to reduce possible alcohol related fits in individuals whose alcohol intake is extremely high.
Chlordiazepoxide – (Librium) – This is a tranquiliser which helps to reduce withdrawal symptoms. Some Service Users have liver damage and are unable to tolerate Chlordiazepoxide, on these occasions, we would use Diazepam.
We use a variety of back up medication if needed i.e. Alcohol Dependent Service Users often need sleeping medication in the early stage of detox and Opiate Service Users need it towards the end of their detox. All medically assisted detoxifications are carried out following clinically indicated detoxification protocols.
This is often dependent on the Service Users pattern of use before admission and is negotiated between, Service User, doctor and Livingstone House staff. Although we prefer to use Subutex
Methadone – if the Service User is admitted on a high dose, we will stabilise them before beginning the reduction. The reduction is carried out following a blind detoxification method.
Heroin, DF118 and other Codeine properties – Again, we are open to negotiation on the detoxification with these substances, but would encourage titration to Subutex.
Subutex – Although this is a more expensive drug, in our experience, it is cost effective because Service Users experience little or no discomfort, sleep is less likely to be disturbed and there are alert and more able to function in the full programme. The transition into the house community, group work and clarity of mind helps to ease them into the treatment programme.
Having has extensive experience in the use of Subutex over many years, we find it beneficial to initiate Subutex on a higher dosage than recommended. We feel that by preventing (or at least, vastly reducing) fear of, or actual pain, this treatment option enables the Service Users to engage in the therapeutic programme quickly. After all, one of the main reasons they continued to use their drugs, was to prevent or avoid the pain of withdrawal.
Cocaine, Crack Cocaine and Amphetamines – Although it is said that there is no direct physical withdrawal affect from these substances, we would tend to disagree. Just giving up caffeine will certainly show certain physical withdrawal ranging from the mild discomfort to real distress. For this reason, we prescribe a short course of hypnotics such as Promazine, Diazepam or Mirtazipine.
We transfer to Diazepam equivalents. As the dose reduces we may introduce Carbamazapine to prevent the Service User from fitting.
We believe that it is important to nourish the body in order for it to be able to heal itself and to help with this process we offer a balanced, healthy nutritious diet. Service Users as part of communal living share this responsibility.
Livingstone House is a 12 Step Rehabilitation Centre. Prayer has been proven to help many conditions over thousands of years. This is offered as a choice at Livingstone House and consent is always obtained beforehand.
What is your referral policy?
We welcome referrals from medical and social care professions.
Please contact us, in confidence, for an initial evaluation of a specific case, whereupon we will be able to advise as to the suitability of our programme.