Treatment Center Setting
- Residential Neighborhood
1st Step Behavioral Health Philosophy
1st Step Behavioral Health’s drug addiction treatment is committed to helping the individual, not just treating the addiction. Each person has their own story, their own unique history and experience with how and why addiction and mental health concerns became a problem. While various factors may play a common role in how addictive patterns effect behavior, it’s not realistic to expect there will be a singular method of treatment which will work for everyone.
At our alcohol and drug treatment center, programs and methods are customizable to suit the individual. Group, individual and family therapy and involvement will be a part of the care offered at 1st Step. However, none of our clients will be treated like a number in a group, and each will be given independent and thorough consults, assessments and feedback. What you can expect from 1st Step Behavioral Health is a highly personalized level of care which makes the distinction of having a significant and lasting impact in our client’s recovery.
Areas of Specialization
Facilities that offer “holistic therapy” see and treat patients in the context of their entire lives and health status. They treat the “whole person,” not just the addiction.
Though not all rehab facilities offer “medical detoxification,” all people with an addiction to drugs or alcohol will experience intense physical and emotional changes and discomfort as their bodies react to withdrawal of the addictive substance. Many people use the term “detox” to refer to the period of time (ranging from a few days to a week) when the body is reacting to an addict’s decision to stop using.
Research shows that the odds of successful, sustained recovery from addiction are far higher when family members and loved ones are involved in treatment. Drug and alcohol addiction often have genetic roots, whether related to substance abuse, mental illness or both. Family dynamics also play a role and, often, family members are the first to realize a loved one has developed an addiction. Also, it’s important for family members to understand and embrace the lifestyle changes that are required to sustain recovery.
Addiction recovery does not end with discharge after completing a rehab program. Facilities that offer aftercare planning and/or support work with patients to ensure sustainable recovery by helping to plan and make arrangements for transitional or sober living, help with housing, vocational counseling, etc.
This is Maureen L, and I am just writing to let you know of how truly blessed I was to go through 1st Steps program. The staff at 1st Step has definitely saved and changed my life. Today I am truly grateful for having got the opportunity to go through First Steps program. I do not believe that I would have gotten the help that I needed if I were to have gone somewhere else. I am truly blessed to have the life I was given today due to First Step. I have an external amount of gratitude for the staff and clients as well. Christina was my clinician and I was truly blessed to have gotten her. I just want to give a huge thanks to all of the clinicians; Jill, Janice, Jen, Nancy, Alexis, Mike, and especially Christina. As well as the other staff members Gail, James, Naz, Amy, Suzy, Janea, Claudia, Shawn, Anette, Vandy, and all of the other techs and most importantly Gus. I greatly appreciate all of you from the bottom of my heart! Please stay in touch.
I rarely write this sort of thing, but if it will help just one person to choose 1st Step for themselves or a loved one, it will have served its purpose. From the first second I called, I felt more at ease than I ever had before. As a mother of an addict, the call is never easy and I had done it several times before. My son was in and out of several treatment facilities; 4 or 5 as I remember. None of them can compare to 1st Step and their incredible staff. Every one of them treated my son with the dignity and respect he needed to believe in himself. They genuinely cared about him and gave him the tools he needed to get and stay clean for over 8 months now. My son’s counselor Alexis even helped me to understand things differently than I had been. I would like to thank Naz, Alexis, Marty, Susi, everyone at 1st Step and most of all Gus. Without him, none of it would be possible. I now have my happy and healthy son back. God bless you all!
We have been in and out of rehabs for 6 years, trying to help our daughter deal with this dreadful disease. Every time, we would come away frustrated over the lack of help she was getting. Constant relapses and close calls with death had our family so disheartened as to wondering if our daughter would ever recover. Until we found 1st Step. Not only is she thriving now, but our entire family was educated on the whole disease process of addiction and how important it is to give the right kind of support. The entire 1st Step staff have become like our adopted family. More importantly, they have become like our daughter’s 2nd family. I cannot say enough about the 1st Step model to recovery. Thank you for giving us hope and restoring our faith!
Meet the Staff
Augustine Crocco, LCSW
Gus formed 1st Step Behavioral Health on the concept of providing a full continuum of care. We pride ourselves on having achieved the goal of becoming one of the few accredited care facilities that determines their client’s discharge date based upon clinical assessment rather than financial resources. Our goals extend beyond the client’s enrollment in our program as we continue to provide support and encouragement well beyond discharge.
Director of Program Development
Naz Andekian Joined 1st Step in 2014 as Director of Program Development. After working 4 years as director of admissions in steps to recovery, Naz brought his expertise and knowledge to First Step Behavioral Health. Naz was a client in 2010 and says he knew this place had the ability to save and change many lives. “I am grateful to have been given this opportunity to work for the very place that saved my life, and now work with humility as part of a team that helps others to save their own on a daily basis.” Naz is convinced that he works for the best treatment center in the nation, and is proud to be part of such a caring team of individuals who always put the needs of our clients first.
Marge joined the 1st Step Behavioral Health family in 2005 as an administrative assistant and has since become the executive administrator. With a degree in science and as a Certified Medical Professional with over 25 years’ experience in the medical and administrative fields, Marge is a leader for the entire staff. She is chiefly responsible for all financial operations and her fiscal management and budgetary knowledge allows 1st Step to provide all clients the best possible care. In addition, Marge is a hands-on administrator, committed to her staff and an active member of the day-to-day operations.
Shawn Hunsberger LPN
Medical Support Supervisor
Shawn is a senior member of the staff and has been with 1st Step for over 10 years. Shawn came to 1st Step as a client in 2005 and started her journey of recovery. She knew that she was in a special place and wanted to be a part of helping others change their life just as she did. Over time, Shawn has become one of the pillars here. She quickly progressed in the company, starting as a Behavioral Health Tech and is now the Medical Staff Support Supervisor. Her continued education, passion and personal experience is what makes her such an integral part of 1st Step. Shawn is responsible for overseeing the nursing staff and meeting with every client to ensure they are receiving the help they need. Shawn not only takes care of our clients at 1st Step but also takes her care-taking skills home with her to look after her three dogs, two cats, and two ducks. Shawn will soon be a Registered Nurse as she finishes her schooling at the end of 2015.
Rehabs.com Editorial Review
ABOUT 1ST STEP BEHAVIORAL HEALTH
Based in South Florida’s Pompano Beach, 1st Step Behavioral Health provides a full-continuum of substance abuse treatment services for adults, including individuals struggling with co-occurring mental health disorders. The center offers inpatient treatment, partial hospitalization (PHP), outpatient treatment (OP), and intensive outpatient treatment (IOP). Additionally, sober living facilities are available, as is on-site detox.
TREATMENT & ASSESSMENT
According to 1st Step Behavioral Health’s website, individuals in need of medical assistance begin their treatment in the center’s detox unit, which often uses medication to help with withdrawls. Depending on the severity of their withdrawal symptoms, clients remain in detox between seven to 14 days. Once stabilized, clients typically move to inpatient treatment.
The center’s website notes that each client’s treatment plan is highly individualized and based on a comprehensive nursing assessment and evaluation, medical history and physical assessment, and initial psychiatric evaluation. The center offers a variety of evidence based therapies and personalized methods. However, all treatment is founded in 12-step methodology and uses a combination of individual therapy, group therapy, gender group therapy, family counseling, addiction education, life skills development, holistic therapy, and relapse prevention.
Patients can go to the gym five nights a week and have the option to have chiropractic and massage therapy. The Center’s website indicates that transportation is available for 12-step meetings outside the center, supervised grocery shopping, and for weekend fellowship activities.
Partial Hospitalization offers similar treatment and support, but on a lower level of intensity. Additional modalities used at the PHP level include ego-modifying therapy, experiential therapy, rational emotive therapy, role playing, and therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Outpatient treatment and intensive outpatient treatment offer additional levels of step-down options.
Sober living facilities are also available for people recovering from addiction and those living with dual diagnosis. These facilities are used in conjunction with partial hospitalization or outpatient treatment.
With a staff-to-client ratio of 1:1, the facility employs registered nurses and nurse practitioners, as well as licensed professional counselors (LPC), certified alcohol and drug counselors (CADC), licensed mental health counselors (LMHC), and licensed social workers (LSW).
ACCOMMODATIONS & AMENITIES
The center’s sober living facilities are available to all clients, including those enrolled in outpatient programs. Clients live in fully-furnished apartment-style accommodations equipped with semi-private bedrooms, small kitchens, and common areas. Amenities include an on-site swimming pool, outdoor seating areas, and gym access.
WHAT ALUMNI SAY
Of the 35 alumni surveyed by Rehabs.com at the time of this writing, almost all shared positive reviews of their experiences at 1st Step Behavioral Health. When asked how likely they were to recommend the facility, on a scale from one to five, the alumni provided an average rating of 4.48 out of five stars. “If you want to get quality treatment and be cared for by a staff that truely cares, look no further,” wrote Bryan in a representative review.
Alumni rated the facility high in a number of categories including exercise and leisure, family participation, cleanliness, affordability, and the staff’s experience.
“It was a great place to build a foundation of my recovery. The residences were brand new and comfortable. The groups and treatment were far better than any other place i have ever been to,” C.K. wrote. Another alum, E.N., praised the “Program Effectiveness, Well-trained staff, Top amenities.”
“Overall a good program, if anything should improve the holistic offering,” an anonymous alum wrote. And Patrick, who “would recommend the facility to anyone struggling with this disease,” felt that the activities could be improved.
The 35 alumni gave the staff’s experience and training 4.42 stars out of five stars. Multiple alumni praised the staff and one wrote: “THE STAFF TRULY CARES ABOUT EACH AND EVERY CLIENT. SUCH A SENSE OF FAMILY. THE MAJORITY OF THE STAFF IS IN RECOVERY THEMSELVES.”
WHAT FRIENDS & FAMILY SAY
The 17 loved ones who were questioned by Rehabs.com at the time of this writing gave glowing reviews. The loved ones provided an average rating of 4.75 out of five stars when asked how likely they were to recommend the facility. 1st Step Behavioral Health also received high marks in every category. The lowest score was for holistic offerings with a score of 4.25.
One parent wrote: “This facility without a doubt saved my sons life. He had been to other before this one and relapsed every time. This one really hit home for him and I am so thankful every day. Another loved one wrote: “This facility really cares about individuals and their families. They are true to their word, and will work with clients and families to help an individual maintain long-term sobriety.”
WHAT STAFF SAY
The seven employees or former employees queried by Rehabs.com at the time of this writing gave similarly positive reviews.
Employees gave the facility high marks for cleanliness, the visitor policy, family participation, and affordability. On average, the employees gave 1st Step Behavioral Health 4.5 out of five stars when asked if they would recommend the facility.
One staff member wrote: “Our clients leave treatment with the knowledge that staff are here for them beyond the treatment experience.” Another employee echoed that statement and wrote: “The caring staff is surpassed by none as they treat you like family and have your best interest at heart.”
The facility accepts some private insurance plans and is in-network with Aetna and MHNet. Ninety days of treatment is priced at $30,000, and 45 days of care costs $17,500. Some financing is available.
Updated December 2016
Published on January 2017
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