What is the Difference Between Inpatient and Outpatient?

Residential Inpatient

Residential treatment can refer to a type of inpatient treatment. Some treatment facilities that take place in a hospital like setting are referred to as residential inpatient treatment. Increasingly, residential treatment is the label being assigned to inpatient treatment which actually occurs in a home setting in a residential neighborhood. Treatment providers want to create a safe and warm environment for patients which doesn’t feel too imprisoning or sterile. Still receiving all the benefits of inpatient facilities, patients also get to experience responsibilities for the home like cleaning, chores, and house duties.

Inpatient programs run the typical 30 day program, but can extend up to 90 days or 6 months. Inpatient is the highest level of care, which indicates that a patient might be a danger to themselves or others if left unattended. 24 hour supervision and nursing staff is one of the key parts of inpatient treatment. Meals, activities, and transportation to outside meetings are all provided in inpatient treatment. Inpatient treatment will also include educational sessions about coping mechanisms, twelve step philosophy, nutrition, and the neuroscience of addiction. Many inpatient treatment programs include physical activities and holistic treatment modalities like acupuncture or massage.

Residential inpatient treatment taking place in a home may include a private chef or encourage residents to cook for themselves. Such programs are usually a step down from a more formal inpatient program.

Intensive Outpatient Program

Also known as IOP, an intensive outpatient program allows a patient to live in either a sober living home or their own residence while still attending a treatment program. For folks who have jobs, families, or outside responsibilities, IOP is a great option. A step down from partial hospitalization, IOP includes a lot of down and free time. Typically, IOP meets a few nights or days a week for long amounts of hours. Patients still see their individual counselors as well as attend group therapy sessions and educational sessions like in inpatient.

The Florida Model of IOP includes all day programming at a separate office location and a sober living home where residents stay and have responsibilities.

At all levels of care, patients are tested through urinary analysis on a regular basis. Choosing between inpatient and outpatient mostly depends on the time one can take for treatment and how severe the problem of addiction has become.

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