ABOUT ST. GREGORY RETREAT CENTERS
Located in Des Moines, Iowa, St. Gregory Retreat Centers offers residential substance abuse treatment for men and women, along with being one of Iowa's only seven (4.3 percent) non-hospital facilities offering medically-assisted detoxification. The facility’s programming is one of the only 17.3 percent in the state that is not based on the 12-Steps. Instead, the center aims to provide empowerment-based treatment that addresses the underlying factors of an individual’s dependency upon drugs and alcohol. Based on survey responses submitted to Rehabs.com, the standard duration of treatment is eight weeks.
TREATMENT & ASSESSMENT
According to St. Gregory Retreat Centers’ website, the facility uses evidence-based interventions to treat clients holistically. Programming considers each individual from a biological, psychological, social, and spiritual perspective.
Clients receive guidance on nutrition, exercise, and sleep while undergoing cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), neurotransmitter therapy, and neurocognitive therapy. Clients may regularly attend group and individual counseling sessions, as well as educational groups and coping skills workshops. In addition to evidence-based approaches, the facility also incorporates therapeutic activities, including service projects, to emphasize the importance of community service.
Residents are encouraged to explore and develop their spirituality. On-site chapels are open 24 hours a day, and Catholic sacraments are available to those who wish to participate. Clients are not required to partake in any religious services, but daily seminars are held that focus on “virtue” and personal reflection.
According to St. Gregory Retreat Center’s website, the facility employs a full medical, psychiatric, and wellness staff, as well as a number of chaplains. To date, the 14 individuals polled on the matter gave generally positive opinions concerning the experience of staff.
Staff Experience and Training: 3.9/5
ACCOMMODATIONS & AMENITIES
According to the center’s website, St. Gregory Retreat Centers maintains two gender-separate facilities, both of which are in “rural settings free from distraction.” The homelike facilities offer shared bedrooms, communal gathering areas, and exercise rooms. Food is considered a key program component, and all meals are prepared with a focus on health and nutrition. The nine individuals polled on the survey metric gave exemplary ratings for the facility's cleanliness.
Facility Cleanliness and Upkeep: 4.8/5
WHAT ALUMNI SAY
Of the 11 alumni surveyed by Rehabs.com at the time of this writing, six provided positive reviews and five expressed dissatisfaction with the care they received at St. Gregory Retreat Centers. Both Annette and C. found the program to be helpful and specifically highlighted the quality of the center’s food and amenities. “The staff was extremely caring and friendly. The food was also good Steak every Thursday night 24 hour salad bar a full gym right down the road along with some equipment in the house,” C. wrote in their review.
Several alumni also touched upon the effectiveness of St.Gregory's methods. "Great facility, loved the non 12 step approach," one alum wrote. B.B. echoed this sentiment, commenting, "cognitive restructuring works" and provided perfect five-star ratings for the center's professionalism, counseling options, staff experience, holistic offerings, and level of family participation. Former client F.F. also provided five-star ratings in each of these categories, adding, "I couldn't have asked for a better facility to help me through my recovery."
However, the four other alumni provided negative reviews that cited questionable billing practices, medication mismanagement, and a lack of adequate staffing. “The medical staff, including my limited interaction with the main Doctor, was a joke. The basically ripped away all of my medications within 5 days!!!” A.C. wrote, giving the center’s treatment effectiveness a rating of one out of five stars.
Shannon expressed similar concerns regarding her care. “Most counselors that practice do not have a degree and/or are working on their degree while there. We were lucky to see doctor on site once a week,” she wrote. S.S. reported extensive problems with the administrative staff. “The finance and billing was a nightmare that I had to get a lawyer for,” they wrote.
Feedback was split on secondary sites as well, indicated by a 3.2 out of five-star average rating based on 11 Google reviews to date. The positive reviews similarly touched upon the effectiveness of the programming. However, two of the negative reviews noted a lack of medical care when they became ill. On Yelp, one user provided a one-star review and the other, a four-star review at the time of this writing.
WHAT FRIENDS & FAMILY SAY
Three of the four loved ones who were polled by Rehabs.com at the time of this writing shared extremely positive reviews of St. Gregory Retreat Center, while one did not. Karol expressed satisfaction and appreciation for her son’s comprehensive treatment. When asked how likely she was to recommend the facility to others, she provided a rating of five out of five stars. “They took such good care of my son and kept us updated often,” she wrote.
S.F. provided five-star ratings for every surveyed category, including level of family participation and affordability, and concluded, "My loved one had a very effective experience at St. Gregory Retreat Center." Loved one J.G. provided similarly high four- and five-star ratings in his review, and shared the same positive sentiment about the programming as the alumni: "RLP... The Recovery Life Plan was very useful tool in maintaining sobriety."
However, T.M. gave the facility’s treatment effectiveness a one-star review and referred to the program as “a complete joke.” Her chief complaint was a lack of family involvement. “Once I dropped him off I never saw him again. I was not allowed to visit. They provided no information other than this was a treatment facility who teaches men to be strong,” she wrote, noting that her husband did not become sober after his treatment.
WHAT STAFF SAY
The eight former staff members surveyed by Rehabs.com at the time of this writing provided widely differing reviews about St. Gregory Retreat Centers. Four staff members noted they would not recommend the center to someone seeking treatment. Respondents indicated that they distrusted the facility, as it was understaffed and poorly managed. “Need to learn patient to nurse ratio, make a policy and follow it. Under staffed,” one anonymous staff member wrote in a representative review.
In stark contrast, four staff members praised the quality of care at this facility, the effectiveness of the treatment methods, and the rewarding nature of their work. "My overall experience has been and continues to be, one of empowerment, honorable service work and true life meaning as a CADC with St. Gregory Retreat Center!!" J.W. wrote, providing five-star ratings for holistic offerings, staff availability, and discharge procedures.
St. Gregory Retreat Centers does not publish its fees for treatment, but its website indicates that the center accepts private insurance. The nine individuals polled on the matter gave excellent ratings for the facility's cost.
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