Inpatient vs. Outpatient Care

Normally the choice for inpatient or outpatient care is based on whether a plan of treatment can be better facilitated in the hospital, at home or in an outpatient setting.

Hospital stays for routine procedures, on average, last no longer than a week. If a medical condition warrants a longer course of treatment, then a patient may be admitted to an extended care facility such as a hospice if it’s found that he needs to be monitored closely. Also, if complex technical procedures or interventions are necessary, then inpatient care is also advised. The frequency of treatments as well as the need for evaluations both factor into a doctor’s decision to extend care inside or outside the hospital.

Sometimes, when caregiving in the home becomes almost too burdensome, inpatient respite care is recommended in order to give the caregiver a “respite” from her responsibilities. Inpatient respite care is often a solution for a caregiver who is unable to render assistance temporarily or for someone who, as stated, needs to take a short hiatus from the obligations of caregiving.

In the mental health field, inpatient care is often necessary for patients who are considered suicidal or deemed as being potentially harmful to others or themselves. Should an individual need to go through a detoxification program, an inpatient setting can often furnish the intervention and therapy needed for successful treatment.

If you’re someone who doesn’t need consistent monitoring or you wish to lead your life with fewer disruptions, then outpatient care is obviously a good choice. People choose outpatient care because it’s less costly and convenient.

Even in instances such as cancer treatment, long stays in the hospital are no longer required. Outpatient settings offer environments that are comfortable and relaxing; therefore, the outpatient can receive care without the stress that is associated with staying in the hospital for a number of days.

Advances in treatment and therapy for a number of diseases have made it possible for patients to receive treatment in outpatient facilities. Therefore, effective care can still be rendered which is convenient and safe for people who require medical treatment whether it’s for a short duration and an extended length of time.

In the case of cancer treatment, it’s been found that the majority of people who need chemotherapy like an outpatient setting better than the hospital for treatment. Studies conclude that more people prefer to come in daily on an outpatient basis to receive chemotherapy rather than be admitted for five days in the hospital for the same therapy.

Logistics also play a part in the choice of outpatient treatment versus inpatient care. Not only does outpatient care offer added convenience to the patient, it also assists the admissions departments in hospitals as there are often not enough beds to cover stays for routine procedures. As the shortage of beds seems to be prevalent in hospitals throughout the U.S., it makes more sense to increase outpatient services and provide inpatient care for people with more chronic conditions.

With the advances in surgical procedures and the improved ways that medications are administered, many people can save on the cost of a hospital stay, have fewer interruptions in their daily routine and still receive good care by choosing outpatient treatment over inpatient therapy or surgery.

Gone are the days that require a stay in the hospital for many types of treatment. Using outpatient care is cost-effective and a reliable means of receiving needed medical treatment and attention. By expanding outpatient services, people can receive better care and more individualized attention in inpatient settings.


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