Family, partners and friends

Information for loved ones

The relationship with friends and family members is very important. U-center believes in educating and supporting friends and family members. They are encouraged to participate in the treatment plans.

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Your role during treatment

As a loved one, you may play an important role in the treatment. You have probably already been involved in researching treatment options and motivating your loved one to take action. You know him or her well and play an important role in their life. We would like to involve you in the treatment as much as possible: to receive information from you and to share information with you, to have joint discussions, etc. Due to privacy legislation, we always need the client's permission for this. For the same reason, we will also share all conversations we have with you with our client as transparency is essential during treatment.

We think it's important that you are well informed about the diagnosis and treatment. We may also give you advice on how to interact with your partner, friend or family member. We will also discuss what you need in this situation and are happy to guide you. Research shows that the chance of relapse is drastically reduced if the client has an involved and stable network upon returning home and normal life. It is therefore important to be involved in the treatment and the changes that it entails.

Our treatment program

Your loved one follows a very intensive program within U-center that aims to reduce the problem in a short time. All program components are aimed at insight, awareness and learning new behaviours. Your loved one is confronted with his/her behavior and possibly with situations from the past. This requires an enormous effort from your loved one, and an understanding of the immediate environment.

Start treatment & indication day
Typically, the U-center program lasts seven weeks. Prior to admission, the client has an extensive indication day in our treatment center in Epen, South Limburg or an online appointment. On that day we look at the complaints and go through all medical documents together. We also discuss the treatment, the expectations and we set goals that the client wants to achieve. A family member, friend or partner may be present on this day. As a family member you will also receive more information about the treatment. On the same day, the client will be informed whether he or she can definitively receive treatment and when the first day of admission is. In some cases, the indication day will not lead to admission.

During inpatient treatment
The approach we adopt during admission consists of an integral and holistic model of therapies, interventions, group sessions and lifestyle change. Your loved one is part of a group with which regular activities take place. The group helps and supports each other and offers opportunities to practice new behaviour. The last week is focused on preparing the client to go back home or continue an outpatient programme elsewhere.

Expectations
What can you expect from our treatment? After the treatment, your loved one will not be completely done working on themselves. The goal is that the client has learned a lot about himself, has new insights, learned new skills and starts practicing with this toolkit at home through trial and error. Similar to the way we learned to ride a bicycle. Nothing is more difficult than changing your behavior. In our experience, clients continue to show progress up to a year after treatment.

Contact and visiting

In weekends you are welcome to visit on Saturday and Sunday from 12.15 pm until 5.30 pm. If you wish, you can have a conversation with your loved one with one of the sociotherapists present. To maintain a peaceful atmosphere, we ask you to come with no more than three people. If you arrive earlier, we ask you to wait in a restaurant or hotel nearby until the morning program has ended.

Lunch
You are welcome on Saturday to come and have lunch with your loved one. Please inform the service center before Wednesday so that we can reserve a spot for you. Meals can be paid for at the service center. If desired, you can stay overnight in one of the nearby hotels. These can be found within walking distance, but it is of course also possible to opt for a night in Maastricht. You must arrange the overnight stay yourself, it is not possible to sleep in your loved one's room.

Children of all ages are welcome on visiting days. There are some toys available and the children can of course also bring their own toys. The stay in U-center is completely devoted to the treatment. This means that the other contacts between you and your loved one must take place outside the therapy hours in order not to disrupt the program. A good night's sleep and routine is important. Given the intensive program, we always advise our clients to take enough rest and to go to bed on time. For this reason, the TV and WIFI are automatically switched off at 11 p.m.

Your beloved back home

The end of the inpatient treatment is of enormous significance to our clients and sometimes evokes conflicting feelings. On the one hand, clients are happy to go home, on the other hand, uncertainty about the world outside U-center plays a major role. With a personal development plan (PDP), we pay a lot of attention to the return home. This plan contains problems the client might encounter and and how they can best be tackled. It is important that you as a loved one are also aware of this plan. The client will practice everything learned during treatment and your role in this cannot be underestimated. Try to ensure that the client returns to a stable environment where certain triggers (eg alcohol) are out of the way as much as possible. You can compare it to getting a driver's license. Passing does not automatically mean that he or she is fully proficient. This grows with daily application. It means that there is still much to learn and discuss. 

House rules

We hope for your cooperation and that you understand and respect the following house rules: fully aimed at guaranteeing a pleasant, healthy and safe treatment environment within U-center.

  • You will understand that as a visitor you are not allowed to bring alcohol or drugs to U-center. This also applies to sweets and other foodstuffs that contain "hidden" alcohol, such as certain chocolates. We also assume that as a visitor you ensure that you are not under the influence yourself.
  • U-center stands for a healthy environment and has a smoking discouragement policy. Smoking is therefore not allowed at U-center. Not in the treatment center, but also not on the balconies and terraces.
  • Smartphones, tablets and laptops may not be used in the public areas of U-center.

Privacy
Privacy is a top priority at U-center. It goes without saying that when you visit U-center you respect the privacy of fellow clients and do not mention their names outside the organization. Visitors are only welcome in the common areas and not in the rooms of the clients. There is absolutely no photography or filming allowed.

Everything that the client provides in terms of information within the treatment falls under the Privacy Act (WBP) and medical professional secrecy (WGBO). Information is only provided to third parties after the client has given written permission for this. Information may therefore never be passed on to family, partner, employer or friends. The client always has the right to whom and which parts of the files are shared.

If you pass on information about your loved one to the practitioners of U-center, this will always be shared with your loved one. After all, openness and trust are necessary for good treatment. A conversation without the presence of your loved one is only possible with his or her written permission. However, we prefer to discuss such information or other important matters with you in a conversation. Would you like to speak with one of the practitioners? Always let this request go through the client so that no misunderstandings arise.

Family and Friends meetings

The Family and Friends (F&F) programme allows loved ones the opportunity to exchange and share experiences with fellow clients’ family members and friends in similar situations. The F&F meetings are an essential part of the treatment programme. Research has shown that the risk for relapse becomes lower when the clients come home to a network of people who understands his/her treatment journey; this facilitates working together for positive change.

What can be expected?
During this special day, a designated professional from U-center coordinates the activities. The clients, as well as their visitors participate in sessions to discuss their experiences and challenges with each other and if applicable, other families who may be in similar situations. The goal of these group sessions is to gain insight into your loved ones treatment process at the clinic, and what changes he or she is going through. This in turn enables you to a clearer picture of what you can do to help your friend or family member during their treatment. You may also gain clarity on your own roles and patterns. Private family therapy sessions are also available to explore deeper issues, should this be indicated.
There is also private time allotted for you to spend with your family or friend during the day.

Further information
The Family and Friends programme takes place in our mental health center in Epen, nearby Maastricht. We ask all visitors to abstain from drinking alcohol or any intoxicating substances. A complimentary lunch is served, since the visitors spend most of the day at the clinic. 

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