Acute Care vs Subacute Care Rehabilitation

Acute Care vs Subacute Care Rehabilitation: The Differences

Sierra Care | March 21, 2021


Acute Care vs Subacute Care Rehabilitation

Medical care can be a confusing and complicated network to navigate, especially following a post-hospital stay due to a traumatic injury, surgery, or chronic condition. It is difficult to understand the best type of care you will need, and having to decide where to receive that care can be a difficult challenge for patients and family members when all you are focused on is getting better. How do you determine the level of care you need and which facility nearby will best assist you in serving those needs? Although a medical professional will assist with this process during your acute medical care stage, having a basic understanding of options will help assist during these discussions with the multidisciplinary team during your hospital stay.

When it comes to recovery, there are various types of care and rehabilitation: acute care, subacute care, and even long-term care facilities. Together, we will explore the differences between these acute care rehab and subacute care rehab and what they can mean for you.

Understanding The Differences Between Acute Care and Subacute Care Rehabilitation

The level of care you or your loved one will require depends on the severity of the injury and your desired recovery plan. There are a few types of illnesses or injuries that would benefit from acute care and subacute care.

What is Acute Care Rehabilitation?

Acute care is an intensive rehabilitation designed for individuals who have suffered from a debilitating injury or illness or recently had acute care surgery.

Any of the following qualify a patient for acute care rehab:

  • Heart Attack
  • Stroke (Minimal)
  • Pneumonia
  • COPD or other debilitating respiratory illness
  • Certain types of surgery

Acute Care specializes in those who can withstand the rigors of daily, intensive therapy.

  • Acute Therapy sessions usually last three or more hours per day.
  • Patients are typically given therapy at least 5 days a week.
  • Patients receive face-to-face assessments and therapy plan updates daily.
  • Patients will be receiving a combination of physical, occupational, and speech therapy as deemed needed.
  • A multidisciplinary healthcare approach is used to ensure a function return to each patient’s daily life.

Acute care can give patients a continually evolving goal that improves their quality of life and comfort until they can transition to daily life without therapy or possibly to subacute care if needed.

Subacute Care

Subacute care is still intensive and implies a high level of care that requires special training and even specific licensing. Subacute rehabilitation is for those patients who are extremely ill or suffer from an injury that wouldn’t be able to withstand the long, daily therapy sessions found with acute care.

Subacute care is for any patients who need treatments that involve:

  • Spinal cord injury (SCI)
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Neuromuscular conditions
  • Congenital conditions
  • Intensive wound care
  • IV treatments
  • GI Tube issues
  • Major, long-lasting issues related to Strokes.
  • Malnutrition or eating disorders
  • Critical Illnesses
    • Cancer
    • ALS (Lou Gherig’s Disease)
    • Any other Terminal Illness in its early stages

Subacute care is designed to be an excellent option for anyone who has already completed acute treatment but still needs some therapy to regain full functionality over their daily life. It is a less intensive type of therapy that includes:

  • Therapy sessions that can last for two hours or less each day
  • Frequent meetings involve the patient, their family members, and their care team members to ensure that everyone works together and towards the same goals.
  • The focus on regaining strength, mobility, and long-term functionality throughout therapy.
  • For the best results, a combination of physical, occupational, and speech therapy is used.
  • Other therapy types, such as respiratory therapy, may be added to create a holistic care approach to subacute care.

While subacute care is extensive in its approach, it is all about having patients return to their normal, daily environments with the highest level of strength, comfort, and functionality possible. After experiencing a serious illness or injury, it can be difficult for a patient to transition back to regular life, especially if that new regular is different. That is where subacute care can step in; it allows patients to take their time adjusting to a new quality of life, emotionally and physically.

Choosing The Best Path

After understanding the difference between Acute and Subacute care rehab, the next step is to choose the correct facility that provides the proper treatment type.

You always want to make the best decision possible for your loved one. Sierra Care provides industry-leading subacute care and treatments for patients recovering from medically complex illnesses, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries. As a congregate living health facility, Sierra Care offers a subacute level of care to ensure that your loved one receives a personalized treatment plan that’s right for them. The treatment team at Sierra Care can also help you navigate the complex world of health insurance benefits and procedures, including MediCal, ensuring that you are receiving the maximum possible coverage.

The diverse team of medical professionals includes nurses, therapists, social workers, activity directors, respiratory therapists, and dietitians, who together will assure that your loved one is receiving the best possible personalized treatment and day-to-day care they need to have a full and stable recovery. Please click here to refer to a detailed list of programs and services offered by the medical rehabilitation centers at Sierra Care.

Sierra Care welcomes and encourages patient referrals. They understand the stress and trauma that comes with caring for an ill or injured loved one and are here to help you make the many important decisions involved in finding subacute care. To refer a loved one or patient to Sierra Care, please follow the link above and complete the form. Sierra Care combines the best aspects of a subacute level of care to provide a comprehensive, industry-leading approach for all patients.