For some people, this may mean rehabilitation therapy. Depending on the type and intensity of therapy needed, the physician or case manager may recommend going to an acute rehabilitation center, a sub-acute facility or have therapy in an outpatient setting. A patient’s functional level is an important variable when determining which facility will be best suited for the patient’s recovery.
While you should always discuss the next step in the recovery process with your doctor or case manager, the following information may help in clearing up the differences between the types of rehabilitation facilities.
Acute Rehabilitation Hospital
Sometimes confused with sub-acute facilities, acute rehabilitation centers provide therapy in an inpatient hospital setting. Burke, for example, is an acute rehabilitation hospital. This type of setting provides the most intensive amount of therapy. Patients receive at least three hours of therapy daily from five to seven days per week, and can include physical, occupational, speech and recreation therapy. Rehabilitation nursing staff and physicians are on duty 24 hours per day.
To be admitted to an acute rehab center, patients must meet guidelines set by Medicare. Generally, this means a patient is stable but still needs care from a physician daily. In addition, the patient must make significant gains in functional ability in a certain amount of time. At the end of the inpatient stay, the patient is then discharged to a home setting or a long-term care facility or sub-acute setting.
Sub-acute facilities admit patients who are not ready for intensive, acute therapy or have finished their acute inpatient rehabilitation programs but are not yet ready to return home or go to a nursing home. Sub-acute facilities provide less intensive therapy, with patients receiving less than three hours of therapy per day from three to five days per week. Nursing and physician services may not be provide 24 hours per day as unlike acute rehab patients, those in sub-acute facilities do not have significant medical complications.
The highest functioning patients who need rehabilitation therapy may be referred to an outpatient facility. These patients are usually discharged from the hospital to their homes and will visit an outpatient clinic two to three times per week, depending on their doctor’s recommendations. These clinics can provide physical, occupational and speech therapy, as well as other rehabilitation services. Nursing services are not typically provided.
For more information about acute versus sub-acute rehabilitation, you can visit the Burke website.