What is partial care?

Angry teenager and frustrated mother

What is partial care?   

Partial care is a treatment program that provides clinical treatment services in a stable environment. It may or may not be hospital-based. Partial care is an alternative solution to hospitalization for individuals who need help, but present no immediate danger to themselves or others. 

Partial care is outcome-oriented. Its goal is to provide services to individuals  at risk for inpatient care or hospitalization due to their symptoms. 

According to PerformCare, a full-service behavioral health managed care organization, partial care “is used as a time limited response to stabilize acute symptoms. It can be used as a step-down from inpatient services, residential treatment or to stabilize a deteriorating condition and avert hospitalization.” 

Who needs partial care? 

Partial care is for youth and young adults with symptoms and conditions that impede their ability to function on a day-to-day basis. Without partial care services, hospitalization and inpatient care may be necessary for them.  

Symptoms of someone who needs partial care 

To give an example for the type of criteria needed for admittance into a partial care program, we included PerformCare’s criteria for youth and young adults into their partial care program: 

  1. The youth/ young adult is under the age of 21. Eligibility for services is in place until the youth’s 21st birthday. 
  2. The youth/young adult is in need of external clinical and social support in order to remain stable outside of an inpatient or residential environment, or to transition to living in the community from a more restrictive setting. 
  3. The DCBHS Assessment and other relevant information indicate that a comprehensive, integrated program of clinical and psychosocial rehabilitation services is needed to support improved functioning within the community. 
  4. The youth/young adult presents with symptomatology consistent with a DSM-IV diagnosis and/or a behavioral and emotional disturbance that requires a therapeutic intervention at this level of intensity. 
  5. Youth/young adult has the capacity and support for regular attendance and the stability necessary for maintenance in the program. 
  6. There is a risk to self or others that is not so serious as to require 24-hour medical/nursing supervision, but does require both structure and supervision for a significant portion of the day and family/community support when away from the partial hospital program. Examples of risk are: an inability to take care of self; mood, thought or behavioral disorder interfering significantly with activities of daily living; suicidal ideation or non-intentional threats; risk-taking or other self-endangering behaviors. 
  7. The youth/young adult’s condition requires a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary, multi-modal course of treatment, including routine psychiatric observation/supervision to effect significant regulation of medication and behavioral intervention to maximize functioning and minimize risks to self, others and property. 



New Jersey Department of Human Services – Click to learn more about their behavioral health services and how they can help you. 

PerformCare – A national, full-service behavioral health managed organization with services including inpatient care.