Short-Term Rehabilitation – What is it?

A person challenged with a medically complex disorder needs care. The primary questions will be, “What kind of care is needed?” “Will my loved one need long-term or short-term care?” “Do we need a hospital or in a rehab center?”

Three main types of care are available: Hospital care, acute rehabilitation and sub-acute rehabilitation (also known as SAR).

Sub-acute rehabilitation is that which is provided by professional nurses for someone suffering from injury or illness, such as after a fall. The injury or illness is not extremely severe, but the person needs that added support in their care to help them reach a point where they can perform activities of daily living and be as independent as possible. Examples of complex medical conditions that might require short-term rehabilitation in a skilled nursing facility are: stroke, cardiac disorders, cerebrovascular disease, wound care and post-operative recovery. Usually the patient requires short-term care, until he or she is stable and can return home or seek a suitable residential option.

Short-term rehabilitation for sub-acute rehabilitation is not the same as staying in a hospital, since for a hospital stay there is usually a very significant and targeted medical goal and a short stay. While acute-rehabilitation features provision of high-level rehab, with more than three hours a day of therapy and residential facilities, sub-acute rehabilitation typically features less therapy than that on a daily basis but the provision of residential facilities remains the same.

Short-term rehabilitation is provided for sub-acute rehabilitation. Depending on the treatment required, the nurses in a skilled-nursing facility might provide care around-the-clock in the initial stages of care, until the patient’s condition has stabilized. The number of hours of therapy required and the number of sessions that a patient has strength to endure in one day varies from patient to patient and from case to case. The level of care will be adjusted to fit the patient’s needs, until the patient is well enough to go home or chooses to move to an assisted-living facility. If the patient has underlying long-term conditions, these must be taken into account in a complete manner, to ensure that the best decisions are made for every aspect of care which is required.

It must be a most gratifying feeling for nurses as well as family members when the day arrives, that their patient or family member has benefited from the complete inpatient care provided and has achieved improved functioning, so that they are able go home. It becomes a process in which both the patient and the skilled nursing facility give their best.

High quality sub-acute rehabilitation in a skilled nursing facility is pivotal in enabling a person who is faced with a medically complex disorder or injury to regain as much as possible of the capabilities and well-being they enjoyed previously.


Flowers in a Vase by a Rehab Bed

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