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Levels Of Care Professionals Need To Understand: Part Two

Levels Of Care Professionals Need To Understand: Part Two


Outpatient and aftercare are sometimes used interchangeably but are most often two separate levels of care. After completing residential, possibly partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient, many patients are ready to start building independence back into their lives. Outpatient is the more flexible level of care, usually only meeting a few times a week for a few hours at a time. As patients start to build their lives in transitional or sober living, accountability and support are important. Rebuilding a life and returning to family, friends, or career can be intimidating and triggering. Outpatient is usually a group processing session. At this point, patients have arranged all doctors and therapists outside of treatment. The only clinical service which may be provided during outpatient will be urinalysis to regularly check for sustained sobriety. Outpatient may last only a few weeks to many months, depending on the treatment provider.


Aftercare can be called outpatient or alumni services. Many treatment providers have realized that a few months of treatment is only the beginning of a new life in recovery for patients. Having the opportunity to come back to treatment grounds, see familiar faces, and check in honestly is a welcomed opportunity for patients starting their new lives in recovery. Once a week, treatment centers reserve time in the evening for alumni of any level of treatment to come by, sit in a processing group, and check in. Treatment centers may have a requirement for how many aftercare sessions alumni need to attend.

Transitional Living

A transitional living home differs from a sober living home in that it continues offering therapeutic structure and support. Residents of a transitional living home are often attending lower levels of treatment like intensive outpatient or outpatient, as well as partial hospitalization. In the mornings and evenings, a transitional living home might provide meals, processing groups, and other structured activities. All transitional living homes will regularly conduct urinalysis test as well as breathalyzer tests. Transitional living homes may provide skill building opportunities, transportation to meetings, and outings.

Sober Living

Sober living homes are simply residential homes which provide a sober environment, enforced through regular drug testing. In sober living, residents are building their lives by going to school, getting jobs, or completing lower levels of care. All residents have responsibilities in the household like cleaning and cooking. Typically, there is a house meeting once a week to give residents the chance to check in, air resentments, make suggestions, or file complaints. Most often, sober living homes have a weekly meeting requirement and have slips which need to be signed by meeting secretaries or by private therapists.

The Center for Professional Recovery offers the Professional Treatment Program, designed specifically to address the unique needs of professionals, like first-responders. Our programs are designed to treat co-occurring disorders which might arise and restore first-responders in a way which allows them to return to work and continue taking care of their mental health. For information on our full continuum of care for professionals, call us today: (855) 422-4129

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