Understanding The Difference When Working In Residential And Outpatient Programs

Patient treatments can usually fall into two categories — residential and outpatient programs. While both programs are focused on helping patients, the unique qualities of each will determine how you proceed with treatments.

A residential living program, such as the ones offered through Raystown Developmental Services and The ReDCo Group, provide community living homes for adults with intellectual disabilities in need of extra support, such as medical monitoring. Care is provided in a safe, nurturing environment with an emphasis on personal choice. Some residential living programs, such as Safe Haven, offer intensive care to individuals experiencing an emotional or behavioral crisis, as an alternative to psychiatric hospitalization. On the other hand, outpatient programs enable patients to live their regular lives at home, with therapy at various locations as needed. Outpatient programs are typically for patients who can live independently, and do not need to be monitored or assisted daily.

So, how does working in residential and outpatient programs differ? While these programs are very different, both involve helping individuals in need to maintain control of their emotional state and to live their best lives.

As a residential therapist, you are working with patients who cannot live independently within their own communities. Residential providers help keep patients who suffer from severe problems monitored and safe. In this setting, you’ll need to be prepared to work with individuals whose emotional and/or intellectual challenges require extra support on a daily basis.

Residential treatments can help individuals receive the care and attention they need in a safe environment. It can be difficult to face the vulnerability and struggle that residential patients are trying to cope with, but it’s important to stay objective for your patients and help them conquer their difficulties.

If you’re up for the challenge, you can help someone regain his or her life and happiness. Working with a variety of patients with a wide range of needs, you will have the opportunity to flex your skills to provide each person with the unique care they need.

Outpatient programs can be in a variety of settings, including at home family sessions, one-on-one meetings in the community, school visits, and more. So, you’ll most likely be hitting the road at times and will need reliable transportation. Additionally, you’ll need to stay organized while on the go, keeping an updated schedule, respecting the privacy of your patients while learning about their backgrounds and struggles, and having your cell phone ready for on-the-go calls.

As you’ll be part of a patient’s life, visiting their home or school or having a standing office appointment, it’s important to remember to maintain balance. However, since you’re treating patients who can still maintain an active and regular lifestyle, you’ll have more flexibility in your schedule, and may even find time to de-stress between sessions.

Pathways of Pennsylvania has been serving communities in Pennsylvania since 1981. Every individual has a right to lead a meaningful and positive life, and we are changing lives, one day at a time. Pathways of Pennsylvania is comprised of four companies: Children’s Behavioral Health, Inc., Pathways Community Services, LLC, Raystown Developmental Services, Inc., and The ReDCo Group, Inc.