What’s the Difference between Inpatient and Outpatient Care?


With time everything has become more advanced and this thing has also affected the health industry. Now there is not just a singular kind of treatment being provided around the world; the ways of offering medical care have changed over the years. For example, now there are two categories of medical treatments and surgeries like inpatient and outpatient procedures. Patients around the world must understand these two types of care and should be able to distinguish between them. The reason is that these affect the length of a patient’s stay in a medical facility like an inpatient drug rehab and even the cost of the procedure.

Let’s start with the difference…

If we consider inpatient care, then the patient requires overnight hospitalization. He/she must stay at the medical facility where the procedure is being done for at least one night. During this time period, the patient remains under the supervision of a doctor or nurse.

While in the case of outpatient care, the patients are not needed to spend a night at the hospital. They can leave the clinic or the doctor’s office anytime they want after the medical procedure is done. In some instances, the patient might have to wait until the anesthesia wears off or when the doctor is required to be sure that there won’t be any complications. When there is no possibility of any serious complications, patients are told to go home and they aren’t required to spend a night at the hospital under supervision.

Benefits of Inpatient Care:

  • The quicker you begin with the Rehabilitation process, the better the outcome is. The inpatient care will make sure that the process starts immediately after the patient admits and gets proper care in continuity.
  • In the inpatient rehab center, you will get the health care services from the multi-disciplinary team that assures the better care of patients and make sure they are able the overcome their drug addiction. During the Inpatient addiction treatment, the prescription is made after analyzing the previous health records and staff uses the latest tools and technologies to offer better medical services. Your health will be monitored by experienced physicians and physiatrist who are specialized in rehabilitative medicine.

In Inpatient care: Your medical team will include:

  • A Neuropsychologist.
  • Speech-language pathologists.
  • Certified nursing assistant.
  • Physicians specialist.
  • Registered Nurses.
  • A dietitian.
  • A social worker.

A care manager will be there to assist you with the discharge plan and post-rehabilitation services.

You may need to stay for a while in the inpatient center for medical treatment and service. Inpatient care is usually suggested in the scenarios where patients require continuous monitoring from the expert for the treatment of your medical conditions.

Benefits of Outpatient Care:

When the patients don’t have to spend more nights at a medical facility like a hospital or a residential rehab center they enjoy three main benefits.

  • The very first benefit is that the patient gets to recover in the comfort of their home and could avoid spending days on the uncomfortable beds of the hospital. We can’t deny the fact that staying in the hospital even for a few days is depressing and the smell of sterile smell is sometimes a headache. Also, one of the family members has to stay for the night with you and they surely can’t find a comfortable position to sleep on the couch. When you are not well but at home, you can enjoy your favorite shows on TV, your favorite food, and do all those things that you love to do at home. The feel of hospitals is horrifying and people want to avoid it and outpatient care is the solution for that.
  • The second benefit of opting for the intensive outpatient program is that it costs less than comparable inpatient procedures. When you stay at a hospital under overnight observation, the charges are costly and the best way to save this expense is to recover at home. Even though you have health insurance, you can save on it by opting for an outpatient procedure. You might not know, but the difference between inpatient and outpatient is thousands of dollars.
  • Not just for normal cases, but now even physical rehabilitation is possible in a residential rehab center. This means that your loved ones don’t have to stay at a drug rehab center. All this is possible because of the advances in medical techniques and technology.

Though there are still treatments like major surgeries that require the supervision of experts and must be done in inpatient care, there are many that can be done at home. Just be smart while choosing the type of treatment and do consider the factors like is your condition critical, are there any complications, can you manage without professional help around you, and even the cost.

We all must enjoy the growing advancements in technology and the health industry, we just need to beware of the facts.

About the Author

Medical Disclaimer

The information provided on this website is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. The content on the website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, treatment, or advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.


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