McLean Residence at the BrookWaltham, Massachusetts | See other Massachusetts rehab reviews
Waltham, Massachusetts 02452
Interview from P
Why did you choose this facility?
Pat: I chose this facility because I was in a separate program at McLean and it was recommended to me.
Tell us about the experience - was it positive or negative?
Pat: My experience at the Brook was about as negative as possible. Throughout my 2 and a half month stay (I decided to leave early because I could no longer stand to be there) almost every person who came to the Brook, excluding 2, chose to leave early. The Brook claims to be a lot of things- yet falls short in almost every way. They claim to provide therapy, yet 2 meetings with a case manager (not trained as a therapist) hardly counts. The Brook employs 2 case managers, both of whom were absolutely detested by virtually every patient. They also claim to have a doctor, yet in reality we would each meet with this psychiatrist for at the most 15 minutes once a week. He was only at The Brook twice a week for a few hours, and on more than one occasion i requested meetings with him and he didn't make the time to see me. In addition, literally every time I asked him for a refill he would neglect to call it in until I reminded him- sometimes more than one reminder was necessary. The Brook also claims to employ "caring staff". There are probably 8 CRCs employed at a time. Throughout my time there, every one of them were hated by the patients excluding 2- both of whom quit while I was there. I have already addressed the case manager issue, but my biggest issue (and I think it's safe to say this was true for every single patient) was with the director of the program, Sue Rees, whose only qualification is being an RN. Her obviously feigned interest and caring for the patients was transparent to everyone, and was most obvious in her frequent condescending remarks to patients during every house meeting. She is clearly only interested in making a profit, and several patients, including myself, were lied to before coming to The Brook by Sue, who claimed to all of us that she could only hold the room for us if we were sure we would be committing and we had just one day to make our decision due to the fact that the rooms were in such high demand. At one point there were only 3 patients and a newcomer told us that, according to Sue, all the rooms were booked. Weeks later it was clear this newcomer had been mislead in order to get a new patient into the house sooner. There were no actual therapeutic groups at The Brook, only a morning meeting to plan the day, and a nighttime meeting to say what you did or did not accomplish. The Brook claims to be a "transitional living program" yet they do not assist you in virtually any integration. The first two weeks are spent in an awful program referred to as Proctor, which is strongly hated by every patient. You then have the option of leaving Proctor to pursue other therapies and interests- but if your schedule does not adequately satisfy them, you are forced to remain in Proctor until it does. While the house itself is very nice, do not be mislead by the photos of the bedrooms online, only 3 of the 8 bedrooms are large, and the other 5 are absolutely tiny. I could barely move around my room at all. The wireless internet barely worked most of the time, and when it did it was slow and cut out a lot. The Brook also claims to have a van that they will use to drive you, but my recommendation is to bring a car. The van will only take you to and from AA meetings, and to one pharmacy. If you are like me, and your insurance only works with certain pharmacies you are out of luck. The on duty staff has 2 cell phones which they are absolutely always supposed to answer, yet most of the times I called they went unanswered. What if I was out and had relapsed or was tempted to? The Brook also supplies you with a membership to a gym. However, they refuse to give memberships to the gym that is a 5 minute walk away, and instead give you a membership to a gym that can take up to 45 minutes in traffic to get to and from. Because of this, there are limited times that you are able to actually go to the gym and get picked up. While I was at The Brook, one of the most controversial issues was the catered food. Paying over $600 dollars a day to be provided with almost no therapy or psychiatry or therapeutic groups, I at least expected the food to be good. However, most meals were close to if not inedible. Every night there would be piles of food in the trash can as I would watch patients leave the dining room after dinner with plates still holding the inedible food. I think that is what finally got to me- the fact that I was paying around $55,000 to have almost no care with terrible amenities as well as a staff who not one patient could stand. Also, the fact that I had to write out, and get approved, a "pass" every time I wanted to go out of the house for a few hours made me feel even more like a prisoner than I already did.
Do you feel the program was successful?
Pat: No, I do not think this was a successful program. While I was there several people relapsed. I met a lot of former residents at various AA meetings who had relapsed after leaving the Brook. As for me personally, I feel like I had enough commitment to sobriety to volunteer myself for a 90 day rehab, and that strength is what has helped me stay sober. There was almost no support from The Brook, and any progress I made was due to my own efforts. If anything, The Brook was detrimental to my chance of success in sobriety.
What advice would you give somebody considering going to this facility?
Pat: The advice that I would give somebody considering this facility is to talk with former residents before committing to go. You will not get an accurate idea of what The Brook is like from any staff member or McLean website. I think the vast majority of former residents would agree with me in saying that The Brook is a terrible place that can honestly do more harm than good to ones mental state and sobriety efforts.