Defining Levels of Post-Acute Care

Many times after a serious injury or illness, the need for additional 24-hour medical assistance is needed to help a person heal, properly rehabilitate and ensure that he or she is in stable condition before returning home.

What most people don’t know is that there are different options when choosing a continued care provider after your primary acute hospital stay. Each organization can vary by the length of stay, therapy intensity and type of medical personnel.

Your medical provider can help you choose, but it is also important for you to be informed of your options in order to determine what care is best for you.

Long-Term Acute Care Hospital (LTAC)

If a person is in need of intensive medical care for a longer period of time (an average of 25 days or more), they should consider a long-term acute care hospital. This facility is best for patients who have just been released from an intensive care unit, who need to be monitored closely and more frequently by nurses and doctors.

Long-term acute care hospitals focus on stabilizing a patient’s medical condition rather than providing comprehensive rehabilitation.

In-Patient Rehabilitation Hospital

In-patient rehabilitation hospitals focus on short intensive medical rehabilitation with the goal of getting the patient home as soon as possible. Patients who choose an in-patient rehabilitation hospital have daily doctor visits, receive specialized rehab nursing care and undergo more significant rehabilitation.

These facilities specialize in intensive rehabilitation teams to include physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, psychologists and more. Each patient receives at least three hours of rehab therapy per day, five days per week.

The average length of stay at an in-patient rehabilitation hospital is 12-16 days.

Skilled Nursing Facility

A skilled nursing facility offers long-term care for patients who are medically stable, but still need professional medical care and supervision. Although nurses are available 24 hours a day, doctors are only required to visit patients once each month.

Skilled nursing facilities require Medicare patients to stay three midnights at their primary hospital before they are eligible for admission.

Whatever your medical needs are, there is a 24-hour medical facility that is right for you. Always consult your family and medical provider to help you make the best possible choice for you.

Editor’s Note: This article was submitted by Spalding Rehabilitation Hospital. Please direct all questions to 303-363-5146.