Partial Hospitalization Program

Mental diseases and substance abuse are two of the worst kinds of ailments that could ruin your loved one’s life. Thankfully, there’s help available. Whether you are the one suffering or someone you love is, with the right and continued treatment, anyone can get over their drug addiction or recover from their mental illness.

Deciding to get help either for yourself or someone you love isn’t easy. But choosing the right rehabilitation option is an even graver decision to make. There are multiple ways to rehabilitate drug addicts ranging from residential programs to partial hospitalization programs, intensive outpatient programs, etc. 

Levels of care for mental health and substance abuse patients

There are four major levels of care for patients suffering from mental health issues or substance abuse.

The difference mainly lies in the number of hours spent by the patient in therapy and where they love during the treatment. Similarly, the intensity of the treatment mainly depends on the extent of the patient’s addiction or the severity of their mental illness. Moreover, while some patients may qualify for the residential program, others may only need to get treated through the intensive outpatient program.

However, the patients that neither qualify for the residential nor the intensive outpatient programs can opt for the partial hospitalization programs. It’s a lot like a middle ground between the two extremes. Let’s take a brief look into what partial hospitalization programs are all about. 

What is a partial hospitalization program?

A partial hospitalization program, often denoted by PHP, is a rehabilitation program for drug addicts and patients with mental health issues. Unlike the residential program, a partial hospitalization program doesn’t require the patients to stay in the hospital during their treatment. Rather, patients get treated at the hospital during the day and return home at night.

The patients are only required to visit the rehabilitation centers for a few hours each day and attend the hospital’s various therapy sessions. The program allows patients to get treated while staying connected to the outside world. 

Who is the partial hospitalization program for?

Partial Hospitalization Programs are specifically designed for patients suffering from mental health issues or drug addiction. However, not anyone can get signed up for these programs. There is a proper set of eligibility criteria that needs to be met for one to receive treatment under this program.

Criteria for Partial Hospitalization Program:

Only the patients who meet the specific criteria given below are eligible to get their drug addiction or mental illness treated through the partial hospitalization program.

  • Patients whose mental illness or substance abuse has not reached a level where they run the risk of hurting themselves or those around them;
  • Patients who are medically stable and do not require round-the-clock access to medical assistance;
  • Self-motivated patients who want to get better and receive the help they need to fight off their substance abuse or medical health issues;
  • Patients who find it difficult to function at school, college, or workplace, etc.;
  • Patients going suffering from mental health issues and drug addiction simultaneously; and
  • Patients with a healthy and supporting environment at home.

How does a partial hospitalization program work?

Signing up for a partial hospitalization program is a pretty simple process. Here’s a short step-by-step guide on how to get started.

1.     Assessment:

This is the first step to getting enrolled in a partial hospitalization program. The assessment phase requires the patient to undergo several tests recommended by their doctor. The test results help the doctor determine whether a partial hospitalization program would be the right fit for the patients.

Getting a formal assessment is an absolute necessity since patients with mental illness or drug addiction aren’t usually capable of making the right choices for themselves. Moreover, patients who experience severe psychological or drug abuse problems might not be in the right state of mind to make the right call.

This should explain why getting assessed by a professional could help one get the treatment they need to fight off their illness or struggles with drugs. Once the assessment is complete and the results suggest that the patient does qualify for a partial hospitalization program, one can move on to the next phase of this process.

2.     Budget

Once you’ve been qualified for a partial hospitalization program, it’s time to check if you can even afford it or not. You will also have to check in with your insurance company. Although a partial hospitalization program is less expensive than a residential program, it’s still not as budget-friendly as an outpatient program.

Hence, your insurance company might be a little hesitant to help you out with your PHP expenses. And if it does agree to cover your expenses, it might want to make sure that the organization you work at pays well. Many insurance companies have certain rules and policies set in place for such circumstances, and there’s a certain limit to their insurance plan.

So, before you start looking for the right partial hospitalization program, you need to take a look at your insurance plan and what it entails. You will have to find out what will or will not be covered by your insurance plan.

3.     Treatment plan

Choosing the right treatment plan is the third phase of the process. You can start by researching the hospitals or facilities offering partial hospitalization programs in your area, compare their fees, and pick the one that best meets your needs.

Once you have decided which partial hospitalization program you will be enrolling with, you can go for the treatment plan. After getting enrolled, you will be subjected to multiple mental health and functional testing procedures.

The results of these procedures will help the team of experts handling your case prepares a customized treatment plan for you based on your case and the severity of your illness or addiction. Your treatment plan would consist of numerous therapy sessions, healthy exercises, recreational activities, and counseling sessions.

However, before the plan gets approved, you will be asked to go through it and comment. When going through the plan, you will have to keep in mind several factors before commenting. As helpful as insurance coverage is when dealing with an illness that could otherwise drain your budget, it may not cover all aspects of the treatment plan.

Hence, you need to be aware of and identify your treatment plan elements that your insurance might not cover. Plus, if there are any other elements that, as per your knowledge, do not address your specific struggles and problem areas, you can share your concerns regarding that as well.

The aim of the program is to help you, not to drown you in expenses and make you worry all the time. Therefore, you can work with your team and share your concerns if you cannot afford any part of the treatment plan.

Additionally, if you come across something you’re not comfortable with, you can share that as well. The team would then go over the plan once again and share any adjustments they might have made in response to your comments. If you’re comfortable with the revised plan, you can give them the go-ahead and get the treatment started.

4.     Schedule

Once your treatment plan has been decided, you will be given your daily schedule. The important point to take note of is the precision with which each activity is planned. In most cases, the whole day is jam-packed with numerous activities that will help you understand your illness or addiction.

Moreover, you can also address your struggles. You will learn healthy ways to cope with your illness or struggles as well. There will be recreational activities as well where you’d be required to participate in art, dance, and painting, etc. 

Elements of the Partial Hospitalization Program

A partial hospitalization program is no different from a short course where you participate in multiple activities each. There are various elements of this program targeting the various aspects of your illness, addiction, and personal struggles. Some of the most common elements of these plans are given as under:

1.     Individual Therapy

Individual therapy involves one-on-one therapy sessions with a certified therapist who helps uncover the patient’s underlying issues and struggles directly related to their illness or addiction. Individual therapy helps the patient understand and identify the root cause of their internal strife.

It provides them a chance to open up about their feelings, worries, goals, and everything in between. The patient also learns how to manage their illness and fight their addiction through these one-on-one sessions.

2.     Group Therapy

Group therapy is exactly as the name suggests. It’s a therapy session led and supervised by a certified therapist. It involves a group of patients who sit around in a circle and share their problems, experiences, feelings, goals, etc.

It helps the patients realize that they are not alone in this. And that they’ve got this. Studies have proved that group therapy goes a long way in helping patients struggling with mental health issues and substance abuse.

It offers support, comfort, and strength to continue fighting and never give up. Participants of group therapy connect on a deeper level and often end up forming bonds that last a lifetime. They struggle, learn, and strive to do better.

3.     Creative Arts Therapy

Creative arts therapy is a way to encourage patients to express themselves. It helps the therapists get a deeper understanding of what is going on in the patient’s mind. Many patients find it quite a challenge to share how they feel.

Patients must participate in creative arts like painting, drawing, and dancing, etc., depending on their tastes and preferences. It doesn’t have to be perfect. This therapy’s purpose is pretty simple, i.e., to help the patient open up and express themselves through creative arts.

4.     Family support

A family support group is designed to help the patient’s family understand the basics of their loved one’s illness and struggles and how they can help. When someone is going through something as severe as a mental illness or substance abuse, it can be quite challenging for families to understand and communicate.

Moreover, family support means a lot for a patient who’s struggling mentally. Hence, The family support group helps the family understand the patient and their daily struggles and go a long way in making the patient feel supported and cared for. This, in turn, motivated them to continue fighting and trying to get better.

5.     Medication Management

Another important aspect of a partial hospitalization program is its medication management service that helps patients take their medicines on time. It also prevents them from any accidental intakes of the wrong medicine or skipping it altogether. 

Partial Hospitalization Versus Residential Program

The partial Hospitalization Program is similar to the Residential program because it is a full-time program, just like the Residential program. However, several aspects of the two programs render them completely different from each other and play a major role in assessing which one is the right option for you or your loved ones. Some of these factors have been listed below:

1.     Freedom & Flexibility

The major difference between a partial hospitalization program and a residential program lies in the freedom and flexibility being offered by the two. While the treatment hours are more or less the same in both the residential and partial hospitalization programs, patients in the PHP can go home at the end of the day. It’s no different for students who stay on campus during the day and go home at night.

In other words, unlike the residential program that forces you into seclusion and cuts you off from the rest of the world during your treatment, PHP gives you the freedom to stay connected with the outside world as you get better.

2.     Living arrangements

The residential program requires the patients to stay at the premises during their treatment; thus, completely cutting them off from the outside world. The resident program, on the contrary, requires the patients to visit for treatment during the day and go home once the session ends.

3.     Costs

Residential programs are quite expensive and might not be affordable for most patients or their families. However, partial hospitalization programs are quite affordable and offer almost the same level of care as a residential program. Thus, a partial hospitalization program might be the best fit for those with limited financial resources.

4.     Treatment Period

Residential programs usually for the long-term, starting from a minimum of 30 days. It can even go on for years. Partial hospitalization probably grams, however, are specifically designed to offer treatment for the short-term.

5.     The severity of the illness or addiction

One’s eligibility for either the residential or partial hospitalization program also depends on how severe one’s mental illness or substance abuse tendencies are. Patients undergoing severe mental health issues or drug addiction are more suited to residential rehabilitation programs than partial hospitalization. Similarly, patients with slightly less severe symptoms and a high chance of recovery should opt for a suitable partial hospitalization program.

6.     24-Hour Medical Support

A residential program is for patients who need 24-hour medical assistance, while a partial hospitalization program is for those who do not necessarily need medical support around the clock. Thus, a residential program offers medical assistance 24/7, while a partial hospitalization program only offers it during the day. 

Addiction treatment programs and addiction therapy services offer a comprehensive dual diagnosis cure, which includes:


When all is said and done, partial hospitalization programs have proved to be quite efficient in treating mental health patients and rehabilitating drug addicts without cutting them off from the outside world. They help patients take back control over their lives and go a long way in teaching them how to manage their illness or fight against their addiction.

Hence, if you are thinking about getting help, either for yourself or for someone you love, you need to keep all the relevant factors in mind before reaching your final decision. While you’re at it, don’t forget to get yourself, or your loved one, assessed by a qualified doctor

While doing so, don’t forget to check and compare the facilities they offer so you can choose the ideal partial hospitalization program. With these points in mind, you will the perfect place to recover from your addictions or mental health issues in no time!

That being said, partial hospitalization programs are designed for the short-term. This means that this is not the long-term solution to your problem. Hence, you need to plan what you will do once the program reaches its end. Therefore, you need to think about your next option and how you will be dealing with your illness or struggles post-partial hospitalization. Keep an eye on your options and how much they might cost you.

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