One thing is certain: These are challenging times.

There are many unknowns as the COVID-19 pandemic stubbornly continues and many are experiencing related stress in their day-to-day lives. Many individuals struggle to tolerate the uncertainty of this ever-changing environment, which can contribute to depression, anxiety, and related symptoms.

Before the onset of the pandemic, virtual care was unfamiliar to many, including outpatient clinicians, doctors and patients alike. Outpatient therapy, whether virtual or in person, is valuable for many patients; however, it is not sufficient for everyone. Many others – whose symptoms prevent them from functioning well in their daily lives – require more intensive treatment, which has rendered the PHP (Partial Hospital Program) and IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program) levels of care essential.

Here are the top 3 questions often asked about PHP/IOP services:

  1. What is PHP/IOP?
  2. Do I need Virtual PHP/IOP services?
  3. What can I expect in the virtual format?

What is a PHP/IOP?

PHP and IOP services are intensive treatment options for individuals who are struggling with debilitating symptoms of depression, anxiety, and/or OCD that interfere with daily functioning. These programs are at various levels of intensity. PHP is a full-day program (5 hours a day) that is attended daily. IOP is a half-day program (2 to 3 hours a day) that is attended 3 to five days per week. Both daytime and afternoon/evening options are available.

Both programs are centered around interactive, group-based therapy and individual care. The group therapy curriculum is based on scientifically proven treatment models. Individual care includes psychiatry, individual therapy, family therapy, and additional specialized services if needed. Areas where specialized services are offered include substance use, trauma, obsessive compulsive disorder, chronic pain, and mindfulness.

Treatment plans are developed by a multidisciplinary treatment team in consultation with the patient’s family/support network and their outpatient team. Programming at Compass Virtual differs from other similar programs in terms of accessibility and frequency of meeting with a psychiatrist at both the PHP and IOP level of care.

Do I Need Virtual PHP/IOP Services?

The goal of the PHP and IOP levels of care is short-term stabilization for patients in a crisis or in need of crisis level support. Most patients are ‘stepping up’ to a more intensive level of care (usually from an outpatient psychiatrist or outpatient therapist) due to needing additional support. Some patients are ‘stepping down’ from inpatient or residential treatment facilities. Regardless of the most recent level of care, the goal is to return patients to their daily functioning with the ability to manage their symptoms more effectively.

Compass specializes in mood and anxiety: however, we also provide significant support for comorbid or secondary diagnoses. At Compass, our programs are delivered and segmented based on age. This includes our Adolescent Program (ages 13 to 18), Young Adult Program (ages 18 to 23), and Adult Program (ages 23 and up). Woven through our age-based programs, we offer specialty services as indicated. Additionally, for patients 18 years old and up, Compass Virtual offers an OCD / Complex Anxiety Program.

Recommendations for programming are made by an expert therapist based on a virtual intake discussion. Intakes are completed free of charge as this is an opportunity to determine whether a program is a good fit and if the individual is interested in Compass services.

What Can I Expect from Virtual Mental Health Programming?

Virtual programming, while through a different medium, is designed to directly mirror in-person programming. Programming runs for the same hours, involves the same treatment team approach and customized approach to treatment but is adapted to a virtual format in numerous ways. Since launching Compass Virtual programming, we have received incredibly positive feedback from staff and patients on the effectiveness of this model.

We leverage Zoom, a HIPAA-compliant teleconferencing platform for both group and individual work. Our patients remark that sometimes they forget that they are not in the same room as the rest of the group. Others find this to be a more helpful platform for interaction given their symptoms or schedules.

Nearly all individuals who try a PHP or IOP find it to be better than their expectations and find the level of engagement to be impactful. If you are interested in learning more, we encourage you to give us a call.

If you think PHP/IOP services are a possibility for you, we encourage you to reach out to us to learn more about our programming.

Brittney Teasdale

Associate Director of Brand Management