At Swedish Ballard, care and support for adults with acute psychiatric needs

[4 min read]

In this article: 

  • Swedish Ballard's Partial Hospitalization Program is an intensive, short-term day program for patients with acute psychiatric needs. 
  • Patients live at home and return to their lives while still receiving intensive treatment.  
  • The program's multidisciplinary approach tailors treatments to each patient's specific needs, with a care team that includes psychiatrists, pharmacists, social workers, advanced registered nurse practitioners, licensed mental health counselors and chaplains. 

Since July 2023 Swedish Ballard’s Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) has provided a short-term, intensive day-treatment program for individuals struggling with mental health challenges and issues that impact their daily lives. 

“The program is focused on acute depression and anxiety symptoms. It runs Monday through Friday nine to three with a focus on skills that you can bring back home each night,” says Kathleen Preppernau, the PHP’s manager of clinic operations.

“We have a mixture of patients who benefit from the day program model,” she adds. “We have those who are stepping down from acute care and those who don’t want to go into the acute care setting but need more support than day-to-day therapy.”

Since opening, the PHP’s team has seen over 70 patients and statistics have shown significant decreases on screens for acute depression and anxiety symptoms.

How does the PHP work?

The program’s length is around 10 to 15 business days. Participants meet Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. and attend 20 hours of treatment per week. They also have the opportunity for a family meeting during their enrollment.

“I think empowerment, confidence, and ability to go out into the world is one of the most powerful things [we do],” says Preppernau. “I am so proud of our team we have put together but when I hear people say, you've been great, but I don't need you anymore. That's a beautiful thing. And I also feel like the program really reduces stigma. Having people say, this was a safe space for me to learn authentically who I am.” 

The PHP embraces a multidisciplinary approach to meeting each participant’s treatment goals. The treatment team consists of psychiatrists, pharmacists, advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNP), social workers, licensed mental health counselors and chaplains. 

Watch this short video and learn more about our Partial Hospitalization Program at Swedish Ballard. Photo at top: Kathleen Preppernau (at right), the Ballard PHP's manager of clinic operations, talks with a colleague after a recent therapy session. Video and photos by Mike Kane. 

The focus of the PHP is short-term rapid stabilization. Since participants return to the community each evening, the focus of care is building effective coping skills to improve self-management in their home setting.  Partial hospitalization allows participants to continue to meet personal responsibilities and maintain independence while receiving intensive treatment.  

“I think empowerment and confidence and ability to go out into the world is one of the most powerful things [we do],” says Preppernau. “I am so proud of our team. When we hear patients say that they're confident and empowered to take care of themselves in this next step. When I hear people say, you've been great, but I don't need you anymore. That's a beautiful thing. And I also feel like the program really reduces stigma. Having people say, this was a safe space for me to learn authentically who I am.”

Who is eligible?

Partial hospitalization is appropriate for clients who are: 

  • Age 18 or older. 
  • Experiencing acute psychiatric symptoms which are likely to require inpatient
  • hospitalization without intensive treatment. 
  • Continuing to have symptoms that require more support than is possible in a traditional outpatient setting. 
  • Not an imminent danger to themselves or others. 
  • Having significant difficulty maintaining their normal daily responsibilities (i.e., self-care, work, school or caring for dependents). 
  • Willing and able to participate in intensive group-based psychotherapy. 
  • Able to access support networks in the community to help them after program hours. 

Participants must have stable housing and reliable transportation. 

Does a behavioral health care practitioner need to have patients admitted?  

No. Patients come to the PHP in a number of ways.

“Patients are referred from many different areas, including referring themselves by just calling our front desk to getting a referral from an emergency room, their primary care doctor, or an inpatient unit,” notes Preppernau.  

I believe this program can help me. What do I do next?

Whether you are a patient who would like to speak with a PHP staffer about how the program can help you or you are a provider who would like to speak with one of our caregivers about admitting a patient to the Ballard PHP, you can call us Monday through Friday at 206-297-5089. You can also fax us at 206-297-5087.  

Learn more and find a practitioner

If you have questions about behavioral health services, Swedish is here for you. Contact Swedish Behavioral Health and Well-Being. We can accommodate both in-person and virtual visits.

Whether you require an in-person visit or want to consult a doctor virtually, you have options. You can also connect virtually with your provider to review your symptoms, provide instruction and follow up as needed. And with Swedish ExpressCare Virtual you can receive treatment in minutes for common conditions such as colds, flu, urinary tract infections, and more. You can use our provider directory to find a specialist or primary care physician near you.

Information for patients and visitors

Additional resources

Mental health care disparities deserve our attention

Understanding mental health counseling

Recognize and manage the signs of mental health struggles

Having a ruff recovery? Nikko the therapy dog is here to help.

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional’s instructions.

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About the Author

Whether it's stress, anxiety, dementia, addiction or any number of life events that impede our ability to function, mental health is a topic that impacts nearly everyone. The Swedish Behavioral Health Team is committed to offering every-day tips and clinical advice to help you and your loved ones navigate mental health conditions.

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