Continuing our discussion on the different levels of treatment, we will discuss some of the levels of care which can come after residential inpatient has been concluded. Lower levels of care are also options for primary treatment. Many people have demands in their life which do not allow them to go to treatment full time in a residential setting. Lower levels of care offer many of the same therapeutic and clinical treatments as residential inpatient. As the level of care decreases, the amount of time spent in the clinical environment decreases as well.
Partial hospitalization treatment is often called day treatment because it offers the full day schedule of residential inpatient treatment without the room and board. These day treatment programs often provide one to two meals onsite, in addition to snacks throughout the day. Continuing to engage in clinical therapy, one of the reductions in care for partial hospitalization is no longer receiving the complementary therapies like holistic healing, offsite activities, or extra modalities. Often, art therapy and music therapy might still be included. Like going to school, partial hospitalization treatment is a day’s worth of learning, processing, and practicing skills for staying sober or maintaining mental health recovery.
The drop off from partial hospitalization therapy to intensive outpatient therapy can be a steep one. After many weeks of partial hospitalization hours, which is between six to eight hours a day, a client is ready for a lower level of care. Intensive outpatient programs either run for fewer hours per day, five days per week, or for longer hours only a few days a week. Some intensive outpatient programs include off site residential living, in the form of transitional or sober living.
Outpatient is generally considered the lowest level of care that isn’t a housing option like transitional or sober living. Meeting just once or twice a week, outpatient is mostly centered on group therapy with educational options as everyone has graduated multiple levels of treatment, seeing doctors on their own, and regularly visiting with therapists.
Sober living is not a level of care but a means for accountability during lower levels of care or after all care has been completed. A residential home in a residential neighborhood, sober living is a place where all tenants are required to maintain their sobriety and contribute to the household. Going to lower levels of care, starting a job, or attending classes keeps the daytime filled. At night, housemates will be required to attend recovery self-help meetings or spend time at home.