If your loved one stayed in a hospital to receive acute care for a severe injury, surgery, or illness, there might be a possibility that they need post-acute care as well.
That’s a type of healthcare for patients who need more time to recuperate but aren’t well enough to return home. Their case is no longer urgent, so the hospital discharges them, but they need additional care to get back on their feet. That’s where post-acute care providers come in.
Before exploring some useful tips for selecting the right post-acute care provider, let’s delve deeper into what post-acute care is and what benefits it provides.
What Is Post-Acute Care?
Post-acute care is a type of care that includes rehabilitation, recuperation, additional medical treatment, or palliative services after receiving acute care in a hospital setting.
Its purpose is to help patients manage their symptoms and recover after undergoing surgery, suffering an injury, or developing an illness.
Some of the most common health conditions that might require post-acute care include stroke, cardiac arrest, pulmonary disease, orthopedic surgeries, and various neurological disorders. Patients with chronic illnesses or those hurt severely in an accident can benefit from this care as well.
Depending on the severity of the condition, post-acute care can last from a couple of days to several months. Patients undergo various rehabilitative therapies to get better, often multiple times a day.
Many hospitals have post-acute physician partners these days to help patients get proper care right after their acute treatment. That saves time and cuts costs for both hospitals and patients, streamlines the process, and ensures patients’ well-being.
Benefits of Post-Acute Care
Apart from the obvious benefits of helping patients rehabilitate and recuperate, post-acute care comes with several more advantages.
Access to experienced healthcare professionals
At a post-acute care facility, patients have access to healthcare professionals who aren’t as busy as those in hospitals. They don’t have urgent admissions, so they spend all of their time assisting their patients, monitoring their progress, and guiding them to their full recovery.
Fewer hospital readmissions
If a patient doesn’t receive the necessary post-hospital care, they might require hospital readmission sometime in the future. Proper aftercare improves quality outcomes, as it can help patients manage their symptoms or recover fully, thus avoiding rehospitalization.
Personalized treatment plans
Post-acute care facilities provide each patient with a personalized plan for treating their injury or illness. They take a patient-centered approach to analyze patients’ needs, determine the right care, and devise the best treatment plan for quality outcomes and the shortest recovery.
Post-acute care facilities go to great lengths to make patients feel comfortable. That’s especially true of facilities that offer hospice care, that is, palliative care for terminally-ill patients.
Many even offer fun activities for mental stimulation and social events to help patients spend some quality time together, improve mental health, and recover faster.
How to Choose the Right Post-Acute Care Provider
If you’re looking for a suitable facility that offers high-quality post-hospital care, take the time to conduct extensive research. Here are some key tips for finding a post-acute care provider that will meet your loved one’s needs for a full recovery.
Pick the right type of post-acute care centers
There are four types of post-acute care centers:
- Long-Term Acute Care Hospitals (LTACHs) – They treat patients with complex health problems (brain injuries, chronic diseases, TB, serious burns or wounds, etc.) who need hospital-level care for longer than 25 days.
- Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) – They assist with activities of daily living (ADLs) and provide a one-hour therapy per day to patients recovering from a heart attack, surgery, joint replacement, femur or hip fracture, kidney or urinary infection, or sepsis.
- Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRFs) – These provide rehabilitative therapies of at least three hours a day to patients recovering from a stroke, brain injury, multiple joint replacements, neurological disorders, or pelvis or leg fractures.
- Home Health Agencies (HHAs) – They provide skilled nursing and therapy services for in-home healthcare.
Check for certifications and accepted insurance plans
Make sure the facility you choose has a Medicare/Medicaid certification and that it accepts your loved one’s insurance.
Look for specialized services
If your loved one requires certain specialized services, pick a provider that offers the necessary level of care. Whether it’s frequent physical therapy or 24/7 care, ask about it in advance.
Learn more about the staff
Find out who monitors and works with patients every day to ensure your loved one will receive the best possible care.
Apart from experienced doctors, every facility must have full-time registered nurses on staff. In addition, HHAs typically have physical and occupational therapists, licensed vocational or practical nurses, speech-language pathologists, personal care aides, and medical social workers.
Post-acute care is transitional care that assists patients on an often bumpy road to recovery. If your loved one requires it, follow the tips above to help them speed up the recovery process and regain their independence.