Inpatient vs Outpatient Physical Therapy | Which One is Better?

Nearly half of all individuals in the United States suffer from ailments that last more than three months each year. It’s a shocking number of individuals navigating through extended physical challenges. That is precisely why visits to physical therapists are increasing day by day. The main question is which type of therapy we should go for. With many options to choose from, it has become more than essential to analyze the inpatient vs outpatient physical therapy comparison before selecting an option.

In this blog, we explore both therapies in-depth by comparing them across critical aspects. Get ready to find out which treatment sets you on the path to a successful recovery.

What is Inpatient Physical Therapy?

Inpatient physical therapy is a focused form of rehabilitation where a patient stays overnight in a hospital or specialized facility. Skilled therapists work closely with you to help rebuild strength, improve movement, and regain independence. It takes place in a secure, closely monitored environment, ensuring safety and progress.

What is Outpatient Physical Therapy?

Outpatient physical therapy is a flexible form of rehabilitation that doesn’t require an overnight stay. Instead, patients visit a clinic or therapy center for their sessions. Outpatient therapy provides tailored exercises and treatments to improve mobility, manage pain, and enhance overall function.

Now that you know the difference between both types of physical therapy, let’s compare inpatient vs outpatient physical therapy.

Outpatient vs Inpatient Physical Therapy

Choosing between inpatient and outpatient therapy is a big decision in your recovery. It is clear that both inpatient vs outpatient physical therapy have their own benefits and drawbacks. You should check out the important aspects before selecting one option, as it can change your whole recovery journey.

Intensity and Frequency of Therapy

In inpatient therapy, the duration of your stay typically ranges from 15 days to a few months. During this time, you’ll have therapy sessions every day, each lasting around 3 hours. This extended and focused care is provided in the inpatient setting to give you consistent, dedicated attention from experienced therapists. This structured approach is designed to speed up your recovery, helping you regain your functionality and well-being more efficiently.

In outpatient physical therapy, the pace is a bit different. You will have to visit your therapists for seven to ten sessions, which will last no longer than 30 minutes. Even though they’re shorter, they will be packed with activities that will surely help you recover.

Level of Supervision and Support

This is one of the most important factors in the inpatient vs outpatient physical therapy comparison. During inpatient therapy, you will have a high level of supervision. The reason for strict supervision is quite simple: you will be in a place where healthcare experts are always around to help you. 

It will be frustrating, but your therapists will show full support in helping you get better as quickly as possible. This is why most people prefer inpatient therapy, as they receive the best quality of care and leave fully satisfied in the best health.

During outpatient therapy, you also get support and supervision, but quite less compared to its counterpart. This is because you will only be in contact with your therapist during your appointments, which, as mentioned above, last for half an hour. 

Cost Considerations

It’s quite obvious that inpatient therapy will be pretty expensive as it will include the cost of accommodation, meals, and medical care. Outpatient therapy won’t cost you much. Since you won’t be staying overnight, you don’t have to bear accommodation or meal expenses, which reduces the fee a lot.  

The cost factor can significantly change your decision in the inpatient vs outpatient physical therapy selection, but it’s important to remember that for severe conditions or after major surgeries, intensive care, and round-the-clock supervision can lead to faster recovery, potentially reducing overall healthcare costs in the long run.

Suitability for Different Conditions

If you have a really serious health issue or you’ve had a big operation, inpatient therapy is a good choice. It’s like a safe and intensive program in a hospital. This is great for things like major surgeries, big injuries, or serious health events like strokes or heart problems.

Outpatient therapy is better for less serious conditions or if you’re in the later stages of getting better. It’s effective for smaller injuries, managing long-term pain, or recovering from simpler surgeries. It’s also good if you need ongoing help for things like arthritis or milder health conditions. You can go to therapy and still keep up with your usual routine. This factor is the most vital aspect of the inpatient vs outpatient physical therapy difference, so it’s best to choose according to the seriousness of your condition.


For inpatient therapy, transportation is usually not a major concern. Since you’ll be staying in a specialized facility, the transportation aspect is largely taken care of. Transportation becomes a more significant factor for outpatient therapy, which changes the inpatient vs outpatient physical therapy race. You’ll need to arrange for your own transportation to and from the therapy center, which can be expensive if you live far away from your therapist’s clinic. 

MOCEAN - Your Journey Towards A Quick Recovery!

Now that you know the difference between inpatient vs outpatient physical therapy, you can choose the one you feel is more suitable for you. If you’re looking for rehab physical therapy in NYC, MOCEAN is here for you. 

At MOCEAN, we’re not just a physical rehabilitation clinic in NYC but your dedicated partners on your journey to regain strength, mobility, and independence. With our modern tech, personalized care, and fitness room, you will find that we are the best rehab center in NYC. What truly distinguishes us is our holistic approach, where we consider not just the physical aspect but also your mental and emotional well-being. Our track record of happy patients is proof that our customized care is exactly what you need to recover. 

So, why not join us for a pain-free future? Book your appointment to start your journey towards a healthier, more vibrant you! 

Then we create a health plan tailored to your needs.

Based on the results, we develop a personalized treatment plan for each individual to promote optimal health. With 1-on-1 consultations, cutting-edge technology, and a team of experts who care about getting you better, MOCEAN offers you a comprehensive road map on how to become the healthiest version of yourself.