What is Partial Hospitalisation?


Partial hospitalisation, also known as PHP (partial hospitalisation programme), is a type of programme used to treat mental illness and substance abuse. In partial hospitalisation, the patient continues to reside at home, but commutes to a treatment centre up to seven days a week. Partial hospitalisation focuses on the overall treatment of the individual and is intended to avert or reduce in-patient hospitalisation.

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

Partial hospitalisation programmes in the United States can be provided in either a hospital setting or by a free-standing community mental health centre (CMHC).

Treatment during a typical day may include group therapy, psych-educational groups, skill building, individual therapy, and psychopharmacological assessments and check-ins.


  • 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.
  • Geared specifically toward geriatric patients, adult patients, adolescents, or young children also exist.
  • For adolescents and children usually include an academic programme, to either take the place of or to work with the child’s local school.


Service providers in the United States are funded by private insurance as part of a designated continuum of care as well as Medicare and, for some states, Medicaid.

Currently, many providers are moving the partial hospitalisation model of day treatment toward more acute short-term services. Hospitals and community mental health organisations are using PHP’s to handle acutely ill persons who are able to better understand their illness, become adjusted to medication regimes, develop important coping skills, and set recovery goals that enable them to function effectively as recovered individuals in the society.

Most programs are required to pass comprehensive reviews from national, state, and insurance bodies. Specific guidelines for assessment, treatment, facility maintenance, performance improvement, and client outcome studies are integral to partial hospitalisation programmes. The Association of Ambulatory Behavioural Health is the premier national group providing Standards and Guidelines, recently completed in 2015.

What is an Intensive Outpatient Programme?


An intensive outpatient programme (IOP) is a kind of treatment service and support programme used primarily to treat eating disorders, bipolar disorder (including mania; and for Bipolar I and Bipolar II), unipolar depression, self harm and chemical dependency that does not rely on detoxification.

Refer to Partial Hospitalisation.


IOP operates on a small scale and does not require the intensive residential or partial day services typically offered by the larger, more comprehensive treatment facilities.

The typical IOP programme offers group therapy and generally facilitates 6-30 hours a week of programming for addiction treatment. IOP allows the individual to be able to participate in their daily affairs, such as work, and then participate in treatment at an appropriate facility in the morning or at the end of the day. With an IOP, classes, sessions, meetings, and workshops are scheduled throughout the day, and individuals are expected to adhere to the strict structure of the program. Online IOP has shown to be effective, as well.

The typical IOP programme encourages active participation in 12-step programmes in addition to IOP participation. IOP can be more effective than individual therapy for chemical dependency.

IOP is also used by some HMOs as transitional treatment for patients just released from treatment in a psychiatric ward.