Critically ill and medically complex patients are expected to represent a growing segment of the Medicare population, this is largely due to prevalence in chronic conditions, advances in critical care, and an aging population. Long-term acute care hospitals represent a critical care setting for critically ill and medically complex patients. Often when a patient is transferred to a long-term acute care facility, there is confusion surrounding why the transfer is being made, which can lead to feelings of uncertainty and nervousness. Central Valley Speciality Hospital, a long-term acute care hospital in Modesto, California understands this situation better than most, because of this, they took the time to outline what a long-term acute facility is, the staff of a facility, and the importance of hiring qualified personnel for long-term acute hospitals.
What is a Long-Term Acute Care Hospital?
A long-term acute care hospital is a facility that specializes in the treatment of patients with serious medical conditions that require care on an ongoing basis but no longer require intensive care or extensive diagnostic procedures. Central Valley Speciality Hospital explains that these facilities have been around since the early 1980s and are often housed within the walls of an acute care hospital but function independently, as they are licensed independently and have their own governing body. As a long-term acute care hospital focuses their energy and resources on a limited number of specialized treatments with minimal overhead, they can provide more cost-effective care than if those patients were kept in a short-term acute hospital.
Long-Term Acute Care Facility Staff
Depending on the long-term care facility you attend, they tend to have and an extensive team of experts on staff. At the Central Valley Speciality Hospital, for example, this includes: Board Certified Physicians, critically trained Registered Nurses, Respiratory Therapists, Wound Care Nurses, Physical and Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists, Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Dietitians, Case Managers, and Social Workers who all focused on individualized goals for each patient’s recovery. The highly skilled nature of these specialists is what makes a long-term acute care hospital so remarkable. These facilities treat patients with long-term care hospitalization needs that cannot be met is any other healthcare setting.
Providing you with the specific care that you need to return to your optimal level of health, a long-term acute care hospital requires highly trained and skilled workers, who can maintain long-term relationships with patients who can last an average of 30 days. Central Valley Speciality Hospital explains that many short-term care physicians are unfamiliar with the work done by these interdisciplinary teams.
Physicians are supported by nursing and other staff, many of whom have advanced training in areas such as a wound, ostomy, and continence care; another supporting staff is pharmacists, nutritionists, diabetes educators, and occupational, speech, and physical therapists. In addition to all of the above, physicians work very closely with patients’ families to ensure that all of their needs are being met. Each day, physicians directly work with nurses and a mixture of other medical providers, sharing information, and viewing the patient’s status from a variety of unique perspectives. Physicians at Central Valley Speciality Hospital also explained to us that working at this type of facility provides the luxury of time, not only to formulate a customized care plan but also to get to know patients and their families.
The Importance of Qualified Staff for Long-Term Acute Facilities
Long-term acute care facilities provide a much higher level of service than nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities – long-term facilities operate similar to an intensive care unit as they are hospitals that have 24-hour physician coverage, coupled with onsite high-level specialized services that require full-time nursing staff. Due to the sheer volume of unique aliments that long-term acute care facilities deal with, the staffing requirements are of an extremely high standard to address and provide care for patients with complex medical needs. Central Valley Specialty Hospital explains that their vetting process for hiring is thorough and involves the hiring of specialized nurses and physicians to cover all aspects of long-term care.
Central Valley Speciality Hospital’s Final Thoughts
To clarify, a long-term acute care facility is not synonymous with nursing home or hospice, they are a unique institution that is equipped to handle the recovery process of complex medical issues and chronic illness. These facilities are exclusively staffed with highly qualified medical professionals that provide thorough and individualized treatment plans for patients recovering from an intensive care unit visit.