Partial hospitalization

Partial hospitalization

Partial hospitalization, also known as PHP (from Partial Hospitalization Program), is a type of program used to treat mental illness and substance abuse. In partial hospitalization, the patient continues to reside at home, but commutes to a treatment center up to seven days a week. Since partial hospitalization focuses on overall treatment of the individual, rather than purely safety, the program is not used for acutely suicidal people.

The pioneer of partial hospital programs, Dr. Albert E. Moll,[1] believed that some patients would be unable to be away from their families or from work and that these programs would reduce the cost of long-term care.

Partial hospitalization should not be confused with day treatment which is sometimes referred to as partial hospitalization. Partial hospitalization is provided on or in affiliation with a hospital. This separates them from partial care or day treatment which are either non-profit or profit agencies not affiliated with a hospital.

Treatment during a typical day may include group therapy, individual therapy,and psychopharmacological assessments and check-ins.

Programs are available for the treatment of alcoholism and substance abuse problems, Alzheimer's disease, anorexia and bulimia, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, and other mental illnesses. Programs geared specifically toward geriatric patients, adult patients, adolescents, or young children also exist. Programs for adolescents and children usually include an academic program, to either take the place of or to work with the child's local school.

Funding – the majority of service providers in the United States are funded by fees collected from Medicaid.

Currently, many providers are moving away from the partial hospitalization model of day treatment and are adopting a psychosocial rehabilitation (PSR) model instead. The focus of PSR is on patient (or "member," as they are often referred to) empowerment, while seeking to "rehabilitate" patients with chronic mental illness so they can function more independently in the local community (see Clubhouse Model of Psychosocial Rehabilitation for a description of these types of services).

Additionally, some people have objected to the term partial hospitalization itself, since hospitalization for mental illness generally seeks to prevent injury to the patient or to those the patient encounters. In the United States, for a person to be hospitalized involuntarily, it is necessary to demonstrate they pose an immediate danger to themselves or others. This is generally done via a report from a witness, such as a neighbor, friend or family member, that the person is dangerous. The person is transported by ambulance to the nearest hospital, where they wait for a psychiatrist to diagnose them, which may take hours, especially if the transport is late at night. The psychiatrist speaks to the person for a few minutes to determine whether they pose a threat. Many patients in partial hospitalization programs do not, have not, and likely will never be psychiatrically hospitalized. As such, they object to the implication that a partial hospitalization program is "one step away" from actual hospitalization.


  1. ^ The News and Courier Center Gives Day Mental Care, page 1. Charleston, SC, May 13, 1952.

See also

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