What Are the Different Types of Inpatient Programs?

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  • Written By: Nicole Etolen
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 19 May 2019
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Inpatient programs are programs in which patients remain in the medical facility for an extended period to receive treatment for an illness. Technically, any stay that requires remaining in the hospital overnight is considered an inpatient stay, but inpatient programs usually last at least several days and may continue over the course of several months or years. There are many different types of programs, including those designed to treat drug and alcohol addiction, psychiatric conditions, and long-term illnesses such as cancer. There are also programs available for those who need ongoing physical therapy.

Treating drug and alcohol addictions often requires an extended stay in a rehabilitation facility, especially during the early stages of withdrawal. Typically, the first goal of rehab inpatient programs is to help the patients safely come off the substances they are using. This may involve intravenous fluids to keep them hydrated and medications to keep them sedated. After the initial withdrawal, the programs focus on teaching patients to learn to cope without the addictive substances. A typical stay in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center is about four weeks, although some patients may require longer stays.


Psychiatric treatment inpatient programs are designed to help those with serious mental conditions that prevent them from living on their own. Examples include severe bi-polar disorder or clinical depression, schizophrenia that cannot be managed by medications, and borderline personality disorders. Some patients require lifelong inpatient treatment, while others may only need to stay for a short time until their condition can be managed with medication and therapy. While dedicated psychiatric facilities typically cater to those with long-term illnesses, many hospitals have psychiatric wards for shorter stays, such as those required for patients who have attempted suicide or experiences a temporary emotional breakdown due to stress in their lives.

Those with severe long-term illnesses, such as advanced stages of cancer or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) may require inpatient programs if they are unable to manage their disease at home or do not have access to an adequate support system. Programs are typically available for both adults and children, and it is best to choose one designed for the patient’s age group. Children’s hospitals often allow parents to remain with their children throughout the stay, and may include tutors or other educational staff to help children keep up with schoolwork.

Inpatient programs designed to assist with intensive physical therapy are available to those who have sustained serious injuries or suffer from conditions that affect their mobility. These programs are staffed with qualified physical therapists who create regimens that help increase their patients’ mobility. Physicians and nurses are also on staff to provide medical support.



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