Frequently Asked Questions

This information is designed to address questions you may have regarding admissions, privacy policies, patient rights and more.

Please don't hesitate to contact us directly for clarification, or to address any particular questions you may have:


At the Brattleboro Retreat, we recognize that being admitted to any of our programs, and particularly to the hospital, can be a trying time. We treat all people with dignity and respect, and we strive to make the experience both positive and helpful. Please contact our Central Intake Service to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the Brattleboro Retreat. This helps assure that the admissions process goes smoothly.

Common Steps in the admissions process:

  1. Arrive at the Retreat’ Main Entrance Registration Desk–family members or significant others are welcome; however, we asked there to be no more than two people accompanying patients into the admissions unit. A waiting area is available.
  2. A nurse or intake coordinator will meet with you to begin getting your medical information and provide you with important information about your stay.
  3. An admission’s coordinator or patient finance representative will discuss insurance policy limits, co-pays and deductibles with you.
  4. You will meet with a Licensed Independent Practitioner (usually a physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, or social worker) to discuss your history of mental health/substance abuse treatment and current needs.

Central Intake is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We ask that all patients call our admissions department before arriving so that we can make sure a staff member will be available to assist you.


  • Clothing. Patients should wear comfortable, casual cloths during their stay at the Brattleboro Retreat. Bring one bag of clothes, with machine-washable day and night wear including underwear, socks, shoes, bathrobe and slippers. Mark all pieces of clothing, as well as such items as eyeglasses, contacts, and canes. Do not bring any clothing with strings, ties, laces or belts. These include sweat pants with drawstrings, sashs, scarves, belts made of leather, cloth or metal, and laced shoes.

    Each patient's belongings are placed in a locked space. Please be aware that for safety reasons, belongings are subject to search.
  • Personal Care Items. Patients may bring the following items, if appropriate: toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, soap and deodorant. Please do not bring any glass containers or anything with alcohol in it such as mouthwash or cologne.
  • Personal Belongings. The Brattleboro Retreat is not responsible for personal items, including eyeglasses and dentures. Patients are advised to leave valuables, including jewelry, at home and not to carry more than $10 in cash. Cameras are not allowed on the units.
  • Medications. Please bring your prescribed medications with you, although they may be sent home with a family member if appropriate.



In addition to glass containers and items containing alcohol, patients are not permitted to bring computers, cell phones and other handheld devices. Jewelry is also prohibited. As mentioned elsewhere, do not bring any type of clothing that has ties, strings or belts including scarves, sashes, sweat pants with a drawstring, laced shoes, and belts made of leather, cloth or metal. 

Specific programs may have additional prohibitions based on the nature of their services. Please ask your Admissions Coordinator for more information.


Treatment will consist of groups conducted by our clinical staff. Each patient will have a treatment team and meetings with the various team members will be done during the day. Many different groups are offered and your treatment team will work with you to develop a treatment plan that is individualized based on your specific needs.


Most of the rooms at the Brattleboro Retreat are private rooms. Each of the units of our inpatient areas are locked. Weather permitting, patients can access a secure outside courtyard area with approval from their medical team.



Interpreter services are available for deaf and hard of hearing patients, and non-English speaking patients and their families. Telecommunications devices for deaf and hard of hearing patients are also available. Staff members will assist you in obtaining these services.

As a patient at the Brattleboro Retreat, you can send and receive mail. Any letters and packages sent by U.S. mail are delivered to and picked up from patient units on a daily basis. All packages must be opened in front of staff.

Telephones are available on every program for local calls and long distance calls.  Calls are free of charge.

A full service cafeteria, offering a variety of hot and cold menu items is located on the campus.


The Brattleboro Retreat is a tobacco free campus. Patients, staff and visitors (including volunteers, vendors, contract workers etc.) are prohibited from using tobacco products anywhere inside Retreat buildings or on the grounds of the Brattleboro Retreat.

If you are a patient being admitted to a Retreat program you will be asked about your tobacco use, if any. This information will be shared with your treatment team. If necessary, we will work with you to help you feel comfortable without tobacco.

People visiting the Retreat for a short time--outpatients, family members, guests, etc.--are asked to refrain from all tobacco use as well.


The use of alcohol and other drugs on Brattleboro Retreat property is prohibited.

The Brattleboro Retreat has a partial hospital (day) program known as the Birches. A dormitory is available at a nominal fee for individuals taking part in the Birches program. If you are looking for residential care, please discuss the options at Birches with one of our specialists in Central Intake.

Visiting hours are available seven days a week in most cases. However, different programs at the Brattleboro Retreat have different policies regarding visiting hours. Check with the appropriate nurse manager or charge nurse if you have questions.

On the day you are scheduled to leave inpatient treatment you will be discharged promptly at 11:00 am. We will assist you in arranging for transportation to a safe, stable environment where you can continue the next phase of your recovery.