Healthy Living

What Is Outpatient vs Inpatient Care? What Are the Differences?

Are you choosing between outpatient vs inpatient health care?

There is a wide range of different ways you can receive care and support for health problems. The decision to receive care is ultimately yours. This can be hard to decide on. But thankfully, for this article, we’ll be helping you decide.

Keep reading below to find what you need to know to find the right type of care for you. Thus, let’s talk about what is outpatient vs inpatient care.

Let’s get started!


What Is Outpatient Care?

Outpatient care aims to provide high-quality care without the need for an overnight stay in a hospital. It is a type of medical and health care service that is provided like:

  • doctors office visits
  • lab tests
  • medical procedures

It also includes specialized care, such as:

  • physical therapy
  • occupational therapy
  • educational therapy

Outpatient care can include scheduled visits to visit with a physician, specialist, or other medical providers. Or it may also involve one or shorter visits to the office or a clinic. Outpatient care is convenient and cost-effective, as it typically involves shorter visits and no lodging fees.

Some patients may also prefer the privacy of being in an outpatient setting, rather than a hospital. Outpatient care is widely available, and it is common for primary care physicians to provide some level of outpatient care to their patients.

What Is Inpatient Care?

Inpatient care is a form of medical care that requires a patient to stay within the premises of a hospital or treatment facility. This type of care usually requires the patient to stay overnight. They may necessitate the need to stay for weeks or even months.

Inpatient care is often used to treat acute illnesses or injuries. Inpatient care can also be used to manage diseases and conditions. These conditions require close observation or specialized medical interventions.

The focus of inpatient care is to restore an individual to optimal health as quickly as possible. The care team providing inpatient care may include:

  • doctors
  • nurses
  • physical therapists
  • occupational therapists
  • social workers
  • nutritionists

These all depend on the patient’s diagnosis. Inpatient care is typically more costly than outpatient care, so it is important to consider all available treatment options.

The Main Difference Between Outpatient vs Inpatient Care

Outpatient care is usually used for minor and short-term health conditions or treatments. Inpatient care, on the other hand, is usually used for more severe and long-term health conditions or treatments. These require monitoring, treatment, or specialized care on a 24-hour basis.

Outpatient care is often less costly than inpatient care, even if you can expect an intensive outpatient treatment program. It does not have to cover as many medical costs as inpatient care does. On the other hand, inpatient care can be more comprehensive in terms of treatment and care, as the patient is under the care of medical professionals around the clock.

Understanding What Is Outpatient vs Inpatient Care is Crucial

Understanding what is outpatient vs inpatient care is crucial when deciding which type of care is the best option for a patient. Outpatient care involves diagnosing and treating patients in an ambulatory, or outpatient, setting. Inpatient care, on the other hand, is provided within the walls of a hospital.

Understanding what is provided in both outpatient and inpatient care is the key to making an informed decision. And if you want to explore more articles aside from these basic outpatient and inpatient care guide, visit our blog section.