Registration and Referrals for Residential Treatment

Our mixed-gender KNOW Drug and Alcohol Residential Treatment Program has continuous intakes, with a new eight-week single-gender program with three intakes each per year for men and women. For information on how to register please contact:

Judy Wood – Residential Treatment Director
Nelson House Medicine Lodge
Box 458, Nelson House, Manitoba R0B 1A0
Telephone: (204) 484-2256   Fax: (204) 484-2016

Contract Beds

Contract beds are available by special arrangement for more information click here or contact the Medicine Lodge.

Make a Referral

Nelson House Medicine Lodge provides services specifically designed to address the unique needs of aboriginal peoples, but its programs are open to everyone.

To refer a person to the Medicine Lodge, please contact us. Please also read the Introductions and Requirements below and complete the Referral Form and fax it to (204) 484-2016; attention NNADAP.

Download Referral Form

Who Can Refer?

The following referral options are available to individuals, agencies and organizations:

Admission by Referrals

Admissions to the Nelson House Medicine Lodge treatment program are through referrals from appropriate Agencies. In most cases the Agency is the local NNADAP organization; however, referrals are also accepted from off-reserve social service agencies. Individuals requesting admission to the Nelson House Medicine Lodge are directed to their community NNADAP worker who may recommend admission. All potential clients must be advised that there are two stages to the admission process: A) Initial admission consisting of a ten (10) day assessment period; and B) Full Acceptance in the program following the assessment period, providing that program is deemed appropriate for the client by the counseling staff.

Referral Agencies

Agencies referring clients to the Nelson House Medicine Lodge shall be sent a referral package, which clearly explains the Nelson House Medicine Lodge treatment program.

It is critical that the referral agent is aware that their referral is accepted initially into a ten-day assessment program. Following the assessment period the client may be accepted into the Treatment Program.

The referral package contains instructions and forms for making referrals. The referral agency has to complete and return the forms included

Please contact us if you need more information or assistance completing the referral forms.

Resident/Individual Self-Referral and Assessment

Individuals are responsible for their own travel to and from the centre and upon arrival go through a five-day assessment process. During the assessment the Counsellor identifies strengths and weaknesses and prepares a treatment plan. After the assessment has been completed the client is officially included in the program.The purpose of the assessment program is to: determine the client’s readiness; probe for problem areas; ensure the client receives proper treatment; make referrals or recommendations if the Treatment Centre does not fit; determine the client’s commitment to stay; establish rapport between the client and counsellor; and establish an individual written treatment plan.

Program Registration and Requirements

We thank you for considering the Nelson House Medicine Lodge In-patient Treatment Program. Our twenty-one bed, non-medical in-patient facility located in the heart of the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation is quietly nestled amongst the trees along the shore of Footprint Lake approximately 85 Kilometres northwest of Thompson.

The Nelson House Medicine Lodge Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Treatment Centre opened its doors on August 17, 1989 and is funded by the National Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program. The Nelson House Medicine Lodge is part of the national network of NNADAP Treatment Centres but priority is given to individuals of the Manitoba Keewatinow Okimakanak Incorporated (MKO) region of Manitoba.

The NHML revised its treatment program to meet the needs of its participants. We offer an eight-week program. The program consists of workshops that include Anger Management, Inner Child/Homecoming, Building Healthy Relationships, Family Violence, Healing and Wellness and Aboriginal Culture and Recovery. We also include lectures on various topics.

Our participants work in groups through trust building. The program is unique because of the traditional teachings and contemporary therapeutic practices.

For agencies and organizations interested in annual contract beds, please contact us. Referrals for individuals have the following criteria and requirements.

Admission Criteria

We accept people:

  • Eighteen years of age or older
  • Sober for a minimum of 48 hours prior to admission;
  • Free of withdrawals and the acute affects of drugs and/or alcohol. In extreme cases, medical detox must proceed intake
  • Free of mood altering drugs (anti-anxiety or anti-depressants)


In order to provide proper treatment and ensure the health and well being of all participants, the NHML requires the following documents prior to acceptance into the program:

  • The attached medical assessment completed by a Physician or Nurse in Charge
  • The attached application for Admission completed by your referral agency
  • A copy of any legal documents such as a court order, recognizance or probation order
  • A Chest X-ray report done within the past 6 months and a tuberculosis (PPD) test

It is the Responsibility of the Referral Agency to Ensure

  • All travel arrangements are made for their client
  • All forms are completed
  • All medical, legal and other appointments for their clients are taken care of prior to admission so it does not interfere with treatment
  • All clients are urged to participate in program activities including the cultural and spiritual component of the program or they will be asked to leave.

The Client will Need to Bring the Following

  • Toiletries such as shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, towel, facecloth and lotion
  • Indoor shoes and outdoor clothing appropriate for the season
  • Calling card for personal calls, which can be purchased here at the NHML or at any phone centre
  • Proper attire for the cultural ceremonies such as sweat gown, shorts, skirts for women that attend the cultural events, etc.

Bring What You Neen to Ensure Your Stay is Comfortable. Upon Arrival The Client Will

  • Have all bags checked
  • Be given bedding, and time to settle into their new environment
  • Go through the intake process, admission forms, House Rules, Consent for Release forms, Alcohol/Drug Screening Consent Forms, Tour of the building, and Things You Should Know
  • Hand in any medications, toiletries (hairspray, nail polish, aftershave, mouth wash, cologne, room refresher) that contain alcohol, they will be kept locked and can be retrieved when needed
  • Hand in electronic equipment (ie. phone, camera, iPad, etc.) and keys to vehicles
  • Be introduced to the staff and the other clients
  • Be given an orientation package that outlines the program, so clients will know what to expect
  • Be given a journal.


During the five days of treatment, the client will be inbound, and will go through an assessment process with their assigned Counsellor. The purpose of the assessment is to determine the clients’ needs and to assist the client and worker to develop a treatment plan. It is also used as a tool to assess the clients’ suitability to our program and to begin to define their aftercare program. The first five days is critical for the client: to adjust to the program and to assess for themselves if the program is suitable for them. In the event we are unable to meet the clients’ needs, we will make recommendations as appropriate.

Progress Reports

The clients’ counsellor completes Monthly Reports, which are sent to the clients’ referral agency. The report indicates the clients’ attendance, participation in program sessions and activities. If a child care agency, lawyer, and/or parole/probation officer is involved in the clients’ case, they may receive a progress report, if consent for release of information is signed by the client.

Completion or Termination of the Program

It is Nelson House Medicine Lodge policy that no one is kicked out of the treatment program; persistent disregard of house or program rules is interpreted as the resident’s decision to no longer be in the program. Staff will support their decision.

The Referral Agent makes all necessary travel arrangements upon successful completion of the program. Those clients referred from an independent health organization are referred back to the referral agent to make the necessary travel arrangements. Continuing Care Plans, discharge forms and final progress reports are completed by the Counsellor and will be sent to the Referral Agent. This information includes recommendations for follow-up and aftercare, clients short and long term goals, and lists their support system. Clients that leave the treatment program voluntarily or are asked to leave the program are responsible for their own travel arrangements. We assume no responsibility for clothes or personal belongings left behind by the clients. All bags are checked prior to clients leaving the premises.


_____ Application for Admission completed

_____ Medical Form Completed / X-ray Report & Tuberculosis Test included

_____ Medical Health numbers included

_____ Legal Documents attached (if applicable).