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Partial Hospitalization Program

Clients in recovery who are seeking to leave residential treatment but are not quite ready for outpatient psychiatric services may find a middle ground in partial hospitalization programs. These structured programs, also known as PHP or partial-day treatment programs, are seen as a bridge between the two and provide a higher level of care than an outpatient program but with less supervision than a residential one.

Partial hospitalization programs are typically offered during the day for a set number of hours during the week. Clients do not require 24-hour supervision or receive around-the-clock medical assistance like residential clients.

However, they are still expected to meet their weekly commitments and attend intensive therapy sessions.

About Partial Hospitalization Treatment

While partial hospitalization treatment is moderately structured, they still offer the flexibility needed to tailor them to a client’s specific needs. Individuals who have completed a medically-monitored detox and been in residential treatment will find that PHPs are the next level of care to consider on their recovery path. However, it is possible for individuals to move from detox to a PHP after their needs have been reviewed.

Who Are Partial Hospitalization Programs For?

Clients who have reached a level of stability to the point where they do not require traditional inpatient or residential services may find partial hospitalization programs beneficial.

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PHP Care for Dual Diagnosis Clients

Partial hospitalization program treatment can help people with co-occurring disorders, also known as dual diagnosis. Dual diagnosis is defined as when a person has a substance abuse disorder and a mental health disorder that occurs at the same time. Mental health disorders include anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder, among others.

It is vital that dually diagnosed people complete a substance abuse treatment program that addresses both the substance use disorder and the mental health disorder concurrently. Otherwise, treatment for these individuals might not be effective and lead to relapse.

PHP Care as a Transitional Phase

PHP treatment is also ideal for clients who are transitioning from a higher level of care but still need a place to land before they rejoin society or take on social roles full-time. Individuals in this situation will either be living independently at home or in a sober living facility with other individuals in recovery. Both living arrangements are less restrictive than a residential or inpatient setting.

People in recovery who have children or have a caregiver role at home also enter partial day programs so they can continue on with their roles but receive the intensive treatment they need to remain sober.

PHP care also can be used as a substitute for inpatient care or a form of intensive outpatient care. If PHP care is used in place of an inpatient stay, then the client will likely be under medical supervision as they complete their time in the program.

How You Can Qualify for PHP

Addiction healthcare professionals review several factors before determining whether a partial hospitalization program is a proper fit for their clients. The intensity or severity of a person’s substance use or abuse, mental health history, and insurance plan also are reviewed before a referral is issued.

Clients who are considered for this program have exhibited signs or symptoms of intoxication or drug or alcohol withdrawal. But, they also must be able to manage their mental health care needs.

Other criteria can include but are not limited to:

  • Changes in emotional behavior or cognitive condition when substance use is discontinued
  • Expressing a desire to change from one’s current situation
  • Potential to relapse or continuing to use if they are not in a setting where they are monitored
  • The recovery environment makes it difficult for a client to abstain from using drugs or alcohol if not enrolled in a PHP program.

How Do Partial Hospitalization Programs Work?

People in a therapy session within a PHP program

It is common for people in recovery to wonder what partial hospitalization programs are like as they consider their rehab options. Some people are concerned the environment will be too restrictive or if sessions will be similar to classes that just scratch the surface of the issue(s) they are facing.

These structured, comprehensive programs, also known as PHP or partial-day treatment programs, offer a therapeutic environment that allows clients the time to address their addiction head-on and receive the skills necessary to live substance- and addiction-free.

Partial hospitalization care is intensive and requires clients to attend treatment at a drug rehabilitation center for a set number of hours several days a week. It is generally recommended that clients attend treatment five days a week for a minimum of five hours a day (for a minimum total of 25 hours a week). Some programs may require three days a week instead. Clients may also have the option of completing these hours at night.

After clients have finished for the day, they can either return home or to a sober living facility, which is a less-structured setting than that of a residential or inpatient program. Pathway to Hope encourages our clients to interact with family members and peers in recovery as connecting with others on a meaningful level plays an important role in the recovery process.

What Services Are Offered in Partial Hospitalization Care?

PHP clients are required to participate in sessions that address addiction education, life skills strategies, relapse prevention, anger management, health and wellness, and other topics. There may be some rules to be followed during this time. Some partial hospitalization programs may prohibit items such as cell phones to minimize distractions. While clients are not required to stay on site, as residential clients are, they are required to come back to the facility the next day to continue the treatment program.

Each PHP program operates differently, but in general, clients can receive:

  • Individual therapy. A formally trained therapist meets with the client in a one-on-one setting to discuss issues.
  • Group therapy. A formally trained therapist meets with more than one client at the same time. The ideal number is somewhere between six and 12 clients though groups could have up to 12 people.
  • Medication monitoring, if needed. This ensures clients are taking medications as directed.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) are behavioral therapies that focus on helping clients correct problematic behaviors with a set of skills that address the problem.
  • Access to a network of addiction healthcare professionals and psychiatrists who understand the needs and challenges of people in substance abuse recovery.

How Long do Partial Hospitalization Programs Last?

Another reason PHP care is an attractive option is these programs cost less than a residential or inpatient treatment program. Without the requirement of a 28-day, 24-hour stay, the PHP option is more affordable.

How long a partial hospitalization program lasts depends on how long the program is designed to last and whether your insurance company will pay for the treatment. Some insurance companies are more open to covering a partial day program because treatment can last during a period of several months, which makes treatment less expensive. If you are considering this option and are using insurance to pay for it, call your insurance provider first to see what is and is not covered.

Addiction treatment in the United States is covered under the Affordable Care Act. Medicare Part B can also cover a partial hospitalization program stay, but according to, “You must meet certain requirements, and your doctor must certify that you would otherwise need inpatient treatment.” Keep in mind that not all drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers accept Medicare or Medicaid for payment.

While cost is a real consideration, it should not be the reason to abandon the idea of going to treatment and getting help for substance addiction. Please call a Pathway to Hope specialist at 844-557-8575 to review and discuss your financial options, which can include insurance, payment plans, and other arrangements.

What Happens After Partial Hospitalization Ends?

Once a client completes their time in a partial hospitalization program, the next step is to start an outpatient therapy program. This program allows clients to continue working toward sobriety on a more flexible schedule. Sessions are held less frequently and for fewer hours. Outpatient services can be offered at a hospital, clinic, or licensed drug or alcohol rehabilitation facility. Therapy can continue as long as needed to support recovery.

How do I Know If Partial Hospitalization is Right for Me?

No two journeys in addiction recovery are alike. Everyone who is working toward overcoming substance abuse or addiction will have to determine what is right for them. When determining whether partial hospitalization is right for you, start with honesty. Honesty allows medical professionals and substance addiction care specialists to create an individualized treatment plan for you or your loved one.

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