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What happens once the individual has agreed to admission at The Wave?

Once the individual has agreed to admission, admission forms must be completed with basic information for the client’s safety. We’ll require the transfer of a deposit to secure their room and their bed, and we’ll need their flight or travel itinerary, so we can have a team to meet them at their point of entry into Malaysia, or onsite when they arrive.

Preparing for treatment

What should a client bring to treatment?

They should bring anything that makes them feel at home and makes them feel safe and comfortable. We suggest sports clothes, trainers, light and casual clothes, pyjamas, their favourite dressing gown (although we provide these), their favourite slippers (we provide these as well), toiletries (we provide the basics and do weekly shopping trips to stock up), and any comforting objects like a favourite pillow or plants. Women might want to bring a couple of shawls for visiting religious or government buildings, although, again, we can provide these also!

What should they not bring?

They should not bring anything that would be a danger to others, such sharp objects, knives, medications aside from what’s prescribed to them, alcohol, illicit street drugs, and objects that have a high alcohol content or are highly flammable. And formal wear is not needed at The Wave!

All exclusions on what to bring are discussed at the admission stage, and also listed in the admission pack.


What happens with a client upon arrival at The Wave?

Once the client arrives, they are reviewed by our psychiatrist and medical team to make sure they’re medically well. Any medication the client brings will be held and administered by us, and their orientation process will take place over the next few days.

How long will my loved one have to stay in treatment?

We understand that the longer someone engages with treatment services, the better their chances of success. And we know that changes in the neural pathways and brain function happen after about 14 months. The minimum length of stay at The Wave is 6 weeks. We try to move our clients through the detox period to orientation, treatment and then start building their onward pathways with them while they’re still in treatment.

We also know that, with young people, it takes slightly longer to settle into a treatment routine and to stabilize. And we very much believe in a “start low, go slow” approach with medication as and when needed, so we prefer to give people the minimum doses and the minimum amounts of change, and then very gradually increase until they reach a place of safety, so we’re not in danger of overmedicating or not understanding the full picture.

Our programme is 10 weeks long, and the average length of stay at The Wave is 14 weeks and 3 days. By no means do we imply that this is what everyone should do - it’s simply because we are a medium- to long-term community, and we don’t believe that sustained recovery is possible in a 28-day stay.

Do you have 24 hour medical care? Can you treat a client’s health conditions?

Yes, we have nursing staff onsite 24hrs a day and we can treat any acute or chronic issues, aside from pregnancy. Our team is led by a Consultant and Psychiatrist and 24 hour nursing care. We’re surrounded by 5-star international hospitals, with whom we have admitting rights. We have the services of a local dentist for any emergency or planned dental care. (Malaysia is renowned for high quality, low cost dental care.) We also have a wide range of supplementary practitioners on call, including nutritionists, dieticians, physiotherapists and occupational therapists.

Can clients bring their phone?

They can, and they may want it for the duration of their travel. However, once a person arrives at The Wave, we have a strict no-electronics policy throughout the first period of treatment. This is to keep both the client and the other members of the community safe, and to stop any external conflict or problems, as we maintain the facility as an absolute safe haven for anyone staying here. We want our clients to stabilize and orientate during the first few days, without outside influences, stresses or battles.

We will reintroduce the phone when the client and their clinical team feel that they are ready - at a safe, slow pace, protecting them from outside influences and from others who may have contributed to some of the client’s difficulties in the past.

Can clients bring their music?

Because of our no electronics policy, everybody who stays at The Wave in is given an MP3 player so they can continue to listen to their favourite music. We know the importance of music to recovery of any kind - in fact, the latest research shows that young babies in the hospital are discharged up to 2 weeks earlier when they’re played music to help settle them. We believe people can get great benefit from interacting with music and its calming effects.

We can download additional music tracks, meditation and talks to the MP3 players throughout the duration of the client’s stay.

Can clients bring pets?

Yes, depending on the kind of pet and whether it’s safe to have in the community. The pets we accept must be well-behaved, house-trained, and have their pet passport and up-to-date vaccinations. The owner needs to have the capacity to remain primarily responsible for the animal during their stay - although our team will help.

We have a disclaimer on our admission that the owner and their family will be responsible for any damages incurred by the pet during the owner’s stay, and we do take a deposit when a client brings a pet to the centre.

Small pets like hamsters and guinea pigs can be difficult, so we prefer they remain at home, with regular photographs sent to their owners.

Will they get exercise while they are in treatment?

All our clients work with a personal trainer each morning, and, as we are an activity-based programme, they will be engaged in sports every day. We promote a lot of high-intensity activity to keep our residents busy, as we find that young people who are working on bettering themselves need an external outlet. As part of our programme, we offer:

  • Muay Thai
  • coached tennis lessons
  • yoga
  • hiking
  • cycling
  • swimming in our indoor pool or at the nearby beach
  • an on-site gym
  • orienteering
  • caving
  • Whitewater rafting
  • camping excursions every 4th weekend of the month
  • go-karting
  • futsal
  • badminton
Can they take a break during treatment?

We don’t encourage any breaks within the first 10-12 weeks of our clients’ treatment. Around month 3, if the client is in a safe space and has a good support network, we may be able to facilitate a small break in treatment before returning. We might also involve them in a small break in treatment if they’re moving onto our secondary care programme.

Does my family have to attend therapy as well?

At The Wave, we believe the whole family is the client - because addiction and mental health impacts everyone. The World Health Organization statistics say that for every person who is affected directly by addiction or mental health, a minimum of 6 others will have their lives impacted.

When we look at long-term and sustained recovery for mental health and addiction, we look at extending our treatment to the collective. Our philosophy is based on building relationships with the people who come to us - and their families and extended families - in order to build a recovery pathway for life.

Can the client continue their education or their work while they’re at The Wave?

We assess each case on an individual basis. In the early days of treatment, and certainly throughout orientation and the settling-in period, we create a space where the client can get to know themselves and other people. At this point, we don’t encourage any outside work or involvement.

We have our own bank of tutors and university lecturers who work on-site and who can, further down the road, assist with study away from home. The rule of thumb is that if it’s going to be beneficial and help with the transition back home, we encourage it. If it’s going to be a pressure or invite unwelcome outside influence into the treatment environment, we don’t allow it.

Can our family stay with our loved one while they’re at The Wave?

We really value everyone’s confidentiality and privacy and making The Wave a safe space for all our clients. That’s why we don’t have families staying with us. We do recommend some fantastic hotels nearby - either the Meridian or Shangri-La in the city centre. Both are a short drive away from us, and our families have proved to be very happy there.

What happens if the client wants to leave treatment early?

We don’t encourage any breaks during a client’s 10 – 12 weeks of treatment. We believe recovery should be fun, with a comprehensive schedule and exciting opportunity to see the highlights of Malaysia there is plenty of downtime and with a full housekeeping team and on call chef there is nothing really to take a break from

What if The Wave is not the right treatment environment for the individual in treatment?

If during a client’s stay with us, it becomes evident that they need a higher level of care than we’re able to provide, we’ll make a referral out to our partner agency in the vicinity who can admit them under what we call an involuntary basis until they get through the acute episode. They can then get transferred back to us at a medium or high level of care.

If we’re looking at someone who requires more than our standard care, we can have a member of our nursing team with them 24 hours/day to keep them and their environment safe.

Who will be responsible for the client’s care?

Clients each work with a nurse, a case manager who’s responsible for liaising with all carers, a primary therapist, and a primary recovery coach who are all responsible for different aspects of your care. They’ll also have a personal trainer who’s responsible for the physical aspects of their care, and who will oversee their nutrition with the help of Chef Sun, our fantastic onsite chef. This, in turn, is all overseen by our treatment director and clinical director, who will liaise with family and any outside providers or medical practitioners who need to be kept abreast of the client’s recovery.

Do the clients have any free time?

Yes! We normally start the day at 7:30am with breakfast, and continue our activities until about 6pm. After this, there are some structured evening activities, but also time for clients to hang out. We have fantastic spots for socializing: sun terraces, roof terraces, a little garden and a waterfall. Clients can of course spend time in the privacy of their room listening to music or reading.

We also have a TV with Netflix, up-to-date movies, music channels and news channels where clients can catch up with what’s going on in the world. We have regular movie nights with barbecues and popcorn. We enjoy each other’s time at the weekends, while taking in the tourist activities and natural beauty Malaysia has to offer.

Sundays are our most low key and relaxing days. As our clients progress through treatment, they’re able to experience more independence and alone time if there are particular things they want to do. We can also arrange haircuts, nails, eyelash extensions and massages, which we actively encourage as part of our clients’ self-care programme.

Do you only believe in abstinence as a recourse to substance use disorders?

We do advocate abstinence, but in some situations we work in a harm reduction sphere. We don’t have a staunch abstinence-only view.

Is there anyone you won’t admit?

We will not admit clients with a serious forensic history, as the risk involved is too high. We also don’t admit women who are pregnant, for a variety of health-related and logistical reasons.

Contact with family

Can I visit my loved one while they’re in treatment?

Since everyone is affected by mental health and addiction, this is a great healing time for the whole family. We like to give both the family and the individual so space to reflect on and process what’s going on.

When the family and the young person staying with us are all ready to engage with this type of therapy and get the most out of it, we encourage visits in the form of family therapy. This generally happens at around the 6-week mark, but possibly later.

As part of our transitioning care plan, we also offer weekly home visits via video so clients can spend time with their family.

What if they want to come home? Can a client run away from the premises?

It’s normal for a teen or young adult to experience homesickness for the first few weeks. We’re a secure unit, located in one of the most luxurious areas of Kuala Lumpur, and our staff-to-client ratio is clients 1:2 (1:1 for high risk clients), so it is difficult (although not impossible) for a client to run away.

Generally, like when starting a new school, our clients make friends after a few days and don’t want to leave - because they’ve found the peace they’ve been looking for.

Will you send me reports about their progress?

We report weekly to our clinical partners, i.e. any professionals who referred and/or have been working with your loved one. We will report to parents subject to the client signing a release of information. Otherwise, we only report on a duty-of-care basis, if your loved one is at risk in any way.

Insurance and payments

Do you take insurance? 

Yes, we do. The criteria is simply that your insurance company will accept your claim. In some cases, they will give a guarantee of payment in advance; in others, you’ll need to settle with them directly. But we will work with your insurance provider to try and provide settlement or partial settlement on your or your loved one’s stay with us.

Can I pay in installments?

We do understand that treatment is not an expense that most families are prepared for. Subject to assessment and criteria, as well as specific agreements with the family, there are times when we can assist families to spread the cost of treatment. We’ll work with you to make the financial arrangements as simple as possible.


What happens when treatment finishes? 

We start planning their end of our clients’ treatment from the day they arrive at The Wave.

We begin by organizing step-down levels of care, either at home or with us or with another treatment provider.  One example of this is would be to move into supported living, which means living in a recovery community, but with independence to work, study, travel, make friends, cook, budget, and learn life skills. This also describes our secondary or transitional care programme, and is available to all clients who complete a minimum of 10 weeks of primary care with us.

For those who wish to return home or want to have a robust discharge plan ready to meet them at the other end, post-treatment care will include a support network of mental health professionals, treatment providers, holistic providers and whatever other resources needed to keep them well and on track.

Clients can also return to us for short stays, subject to availability. We welcome - and love! - having discharged client return in 4 or 6 weeks time to spend a few days with us.

General FAQ's

Is the facility secure?

Yes. While we consider ourselves to be a medium secure facility (rather than a lockdown facility), if a young person appears to be at risk of harming themselves or others, or has a high risk of absconding during early treatment, we can use the services of a high care secure facility nearby.

When young people begin to get physically well, which normally happens before they become psychologically well, they sometimes feel the urge to get out of the clinic. Whilst we do everything we can to retain them, that feeling is completely normal, and we’ll work with it and with them to keep them as secure as possible. Our location is a secure building within a secure area, manned by security guards and an electronic entrance and entry system.

Is everything included in the price?

Just about everything included in the client’s stay is included in the price: detox, psychiatric care, medical care, counseling, psychotherapy, food, accommodations, excursions, and most activities.

Flights and family accommodations are not included, nor are small personal expenses like toiletries, clothing or a new swimming costume, which would come out of your deposit. The same goes for any particular foods, self-care treatments, or the cost of taking trips or excursions that are not part of our programme.

If there are any complex medications that are not part of the admission criteria, for example, certain HIV medications, blood clotting medications, or anything else that’s outside of the primary reason for admission, these may be charged as an extra, depending on the availability and location of the drugs. So, will any extra medical care that requires an outside provider, i.e. x-rays, MRI scans, blood tests, etc. Fortunately, medical care in Kuala Lumpur is of high quality and very reasonable, and we will always get consent before expenditure.

Can you help with court reporting?

If your loved one is in treatment and we have a good understanding of the case, we can help explain their situation to the court and give a predicted length of treatment.


There's Always Hope

Recovery is not a journey that should be taken alone. Do you have questions?

Want to discuss your case? Are you looking to start the path to healing?

We’d love to talk to you. 


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