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Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital launches Behavioral Health Partial Hospitalization Program

Mental health services to bridge the gap between inpatient and outpatient treatment

Sycamore BHS Cheryl Beutell and Marissa Kirch discuss an upcoming group session

DEKALB, Ill.  -  For individuals who are experiencing mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, mood disorders and bipolar disorders, there is often a gap between traditional outpatient services and inpatient hospitalization. To meet the need for these services, Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital opened a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) and Intensive Outpatient Treatment Program (IOP) on Monday, November 28, at Northwestern Medicine Behavioral Health Services Sycamore, located at 760 Foxpointe Drive.

Patients in the PHP undergo intensive treatment six hours a day, five days a week, Monday through Friday. The IOP is a lower intensity treatment option than the PHP and higher intensity than basic outpatient treatment, often meeting three to four days per week for a few hours each day. Both programs allow patients to live at home while benefitting from intensive behavioral health care. In either program, patients spend time in several therapy groups, along with psychiatric support, individual counseling and family therapy. 

“Access to more group therapy is especially effective as it helps assure individuals that they are not alone in their thoughts, feelings or circumstances,” said Marissa Kirch, MSW, LCSW, manager of Mental Health PHP/IOP at Northwestern Medicine Behavioral Health Services Sycamore. “Our team of licensed counselors, psychiatrists and advanced practice nurses provide education, individual therapy and guidance, while the group provides feedback and support.” 

According to Kirch, the PHP and IOP are valuable options for patients who are leaving inpatient care but who still need structured, wraparound support for continued recovery. Additionally, these services can benefit people who are unable to receive inpatient care but need more structure and support than traditional outpatient therapy. 

The PHP is an ideal treatment setting for clients who are experiencing a decline in functioning or an increase in symptoms, such as becoming more isolated or expressing suicidal thoughts, but who are not actively suicidal. It is also for individuals who are psychiatrically stable but are using maladaptive coping strategies, such as engaging in self-injury, in response to their personal stressors or moods..

The IOP is ideal for reinforcement of skills and relapse prevention to transition back to daily life including home, school, work and social interaction. 

“Transportation barriers are a big problem for many patients who require these services,” said Kirch. “There is no inpatient hospitalization for mental health services in DeKalb County and there isn’t another partial hospitalization program within 20 miles. We are very excited to bring these services to the DeKalb region.” 

To accommodate the new programs, Behavioral Health Services Sycamore was recently expanded and renovated. The clinic also offers evaluations for mental health treatment, pediatric psychological testing, and outpatient individual, group and family therapy. 

“Our goal is to empower patients with more persistent behavioral health needs to lead meaningful lives with the greatest degree of independence possible,” said Karyn Erkfritz-Gay, PhD, director of Behavioral Health Services at Kishwaukee Hospital. “Our continuum of outpatient programs that now include partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programming can address complex issues with compassion and respect to help patient learn the tools to live a happy and fulfilling life.” 

Currently, the PHP and IOP are accepting referrals for adults. The goal is to also offer the programs to teens ages 13 to 18 in March 2023.

For an appointment or to learn more, please call 815.748.8334. If you are in distress and need immediate assistance, our Behavioral Health hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 800.373.3327. For emergencies, please dial 911 or visit the nearest emergency department.