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Differences between Acute and Sub-Acute Care

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Choosing a skilled nursing home for seniors post-hospitalization or after an accident can be very stressful. You need to know which type of care services your elderly parent or grandparent will need and then you’ll have to pick from the available options that will offer the best services to your loved one.

The rehabilitation care services offered by skilled nursing homes can be divided into two types: acute and sub-acute. The level of care your senior will need will depend upon the severity of their condition as well as the recovery plan. Below is a quick look at both of the types, which will help you to decide which option will be ideal for a speedy recovery of your elderly loved one.

Acute Care

Acute care refers to an intensive rehabilitation program that is offered to seniors who have experienced a debilitating illness, traumatic injury, or if they had undergone surgery recently. In general, acute care is provided for patients who were hospitalized due to a heart attack, stroke, COPD, pneumonia, as well as certain types of surgery. The rehab program is designed for those who can endure the effects of daily intensive therapy.

The therapy typically lasts for 3 – 4 hours every day, but it could be more depending upon the condition of the patient. The therapy is provided at least 5 days per week for the period recommended by the physician. Caregivers at the skilled nursing home will offer daily assessments and updates for the treatment plan. Patients will also have access to physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy as required.

Sub-Acute Care

Sub-acute care also involves following an intensive rehabilitation program, but not as demanding as acute care. This type of care is offered to patients who are critically ill or have a severe injury that makes them unable to endure daily therapy sessions. Sub-acute care is usually provided to anyone who needs post-hospitalization care services such as IV treatment, gastrostomy tube assistance, wound care, as well as long-term care for stroke, cancer, ALS, or any other critical illness.

In some cases, sub-acute care is also provided to patients who have already completed acute care rehabilitation but need care services to regain full functionality. Generally, the therapy sessions in sub-acute care last for less than 2 hours per day. The focus of the care is put on regaining strength and mobility as well as long-lasting functionality. A combination of physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, respiratory therapy, and holistic care approach may also be used for the best results.

Acute care motivates patients to improve their quality of life, while sub-acute care revolves around returning patients to their normal environments with better strength and functionality. Consult with the experts at the skilled nursing home to learn more and decide the right path for your senior.

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