Preventing the downward spiral: Intensive outpatient programs and perinatal patients

Agnieszka Grabowski, MA, LSW,
Recommendations for optimizing the effectiveness of current mental health practices with the perinatal population through the development of the integrated outpatient programs (IOP).
Our own Agnieszka Grabowski (program coordinator and staff clinician) contributed the following recommendations to the Postpartum Support International (PSI) current newsletter.
“Currently, we tend to perceive only two options for perinatal women: outpatient treatment or hospitalization. Often, outpatient treatment is sufficient. However, many times clinicians treat the patient until it becomes clear that she can no longer be managed at the outpatient level, at which point she is hospitalized—an invariably problematic experience given that most psychiatric inpatient units are not equipped to handle perinatal women. Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP's) level of treatment bridges this gap. Ideally, a decompensating woman should be referred to a more intensive program to prevent hospitalization. This level of care is also appropriate as a step-down from hospitalization. In a model IOP, patients attend groups specifically designed for pregnant or postpartum women, see a perinatal psychiatrist, and obtain individual therapy if they are not already receiving it in the community. …”

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