When a patient enters skilled nursing care, they need skilled nursing. Patients should be aware of the differences between sub acute rehab vs skilled nursing facilities when interacting with their doctor or caregiver about experienced nursing options and choices.
Because patients usually make decisions about their care options based on how a facility is described, they should be aware of the differences between the two.
What is Sub Acute Rehab?
Sub-acute rehab is a type of therapy facility that provides direct care for patients who’ve recently been discharged from the hospital after an illness or surgery. This care takes place in addition to home nursing, outpatient services, and regular doctor’s visits.
As the name suggests, sub acute rehab focuses on treating patients who are unstable but not necessarily critically ill. Thus, it can be considered as part of the continuum of post-hospital care or long-term care.
This kind of rehabilitation facility usually has a bariatric program also based on their size. They provide medically supervised weight loss and lifestyle management programs mainly to people who are obese or overweight and require surgical intervention due to their chronic diseases such as diabetes mellitus.
Sub-acute rehab facilities are a type of transitional care facility. They are meant to be an intermediary between inpatient hospital care and long-term nursing home/assisted living care.
These facilities are typically found at hospitals or adjacent to them, so the patients can continue receiving health care from their primary physicians while staying in a smaller facility that offers assistance with activities of daily living.
What’s more is that they provide occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, and other services.
A patient may stay in sub-acute for three days to several weeks depending on what services he needs after being discharged from the hospital, such as occupational therapy for rehabilitation due to illness or surgery.
What is Skilled Nursing Care?
Skilled nursing can be defined as post-hospital care, which involves professional nurses and health care workers who provide ongoing treatment to patients after an illness or injury.
Patients whose conditions require occupational or physical therapy after being discharged from the hospital often opt for skilled nursing facilities because they have the necessary occupational and physical therapy they can provide them.
This kind of facility usually focuses on occupational or physical rehabilitation and short-term postoperative care for surgery patients. Skilled nursing facilities are beneficial to patients who need occupational therapy after being released from the hospital because they offer a wide range of occupational services.
These include occupational evaluation, planning, intervention strategies that range from independent exercises to what they call “hands-on” therapies (i.e., feeding programs, dressing programs) and more in addition to occupational health services.
Occupational therapists also counsel their patients on strategies so that they don’t become dependent on occupational aides when it’s no longer necessary. They also assist in designing an activity program for each patient, which will be tailored to meet each patient’s occupational and physical needs.
Skilled nursing facilities also offer physical therapy programs to their patients, as well as occupational therapy services. Occupational therapists at skilled nursing facilities assess patients’ need for occupational therapy by evaluating what kind of occupational rehabilitation is needed.
Then, the occupational therapist makes an intervention plan that suits the patient’s needs based on their condition and occupational status to go back to their prior employment or find a new job.
Want to Connect With Other Nurses?
Join our non-Facebook online community just for nurses.
The occupational therapist will also develop an activity program for the patient to maintain their level of functioning in daily living and engage them in meaningful activities that promote health and improve their quality of life.
If you think skilled nursing care might be a good option for you or a relative, speak with one of our licensed insurance agents to discuss your options regarding long-term care insurance.
What’s the Difference: Sub Acute Rehab Vs Skilled Nursing Facility
When it comes to caring for a loved one, it is easy to be overwhelmed with the options and choices.
However, the most important thing to remember when choosing the best place for your loved one’s care is that you must select an option that will keep them safe, comfortable, and in a positive environment.
It is essential to understand all of the options available so you can make the best choice possible for your loved one who needs help coping with chronic or acute illness.
The fundamental variations of both aspects of care and treatment are below.
Complexity of Medical Care:
An LTACH provides more comprehensive medical care than an SNF or IRF does. If a patient requires complex, intensive care, a long-term acute care hospital would be best. Still, if they need more moderate care, an inpatient rehab facility would be the best choice, depending on the circumstances.
Level of Therapy Offered
Inpatient rehabilitation facilities are typically the best option for specific treatments and intensive rehabilitation programs to restore independence. The focus of long-term acute care hospitals is not usually on therapies and rehabilitation.
Skilled nursing facilities may do the same but less intensively. Inpatient rehabilitation centers may not be the best choice for patients who cannot devote three hours daily to therapy or rehabilitation.
Most long-term acute care facilities have a stable of in-house doctors, and patients usually see a doctor at least once a day. A physician is also available at skilled nursing facilities and rehabilitation facilities, but the daily management of care is primarily in the hands of therapists and nurses.
Hospitals that provide long-term acute care are the most expensive of the three options because of their extensive medical services. If the patient does not have complex care needs, skilled nursing facilities are more cost-effective.
However, private insurance plans, Medicare, and sometimes Medicaid can help cover the expenses.
Many people worry that a rehab facility is too aggressive and will push patients back into the workforce when they are not ready. However, the opposite is true. A skilled nursing facility will get patients to the point that they are prepared to go back to work or handle regular tasks around the house.
At the same time, an acute care hospital would focus on intensive medical treatments and therapies that may be too much for a patient who has compromised health.