What Is a Long-Term Acute Care Hospital?
Wed, 02/03/2010 - 12:06pm | Lisa M. Marsilio
When someone suffers an accident or stroke or needs surgery, the first place he or she goes is an acute-care hospital, such as a Lehigh Valley Hospital or a St. Luke’s Hospital in the Lehigh Valley. There, clinicians patch up injuries, perform surgeries and stabilize the patient. After being stabilized, some patients—often those with underlying conditions—may be too medically fragile to go home, to a rehabilitation facility or to a skilled nursing facility. Many are then sent to a long-term acute care hospital, or LTACH.
Patients at LTACHs are very ill and may need cardiac monitoring, multiple IVs or ventilators. The most common diagnoses include respiratory and cardiac failure. Other conditions treated include: brain injury, burns, cardiovascular disease, complex and pressure wounds, complicated fractures, medically complex conditions, methicillin-resistant staph aureus infections, peripheral vascular disease, spinal cord injury, stroke, surgical recuperation, tracheotomies with complications and trauma injuries.
The nurses, therapists and physicians at an LTACH have special expertise in weaning people off of ventilators and treating complex wounds. LTACHs also offer services such as radiology, CT scans, MRI, cardiology and laboratory services.
The average length of stay for patients in an LTACH is 25 days. Upon discharge, patients move on to the next level of their recovery, which may be a skilled nursing facility, assisted living facility, rehabilitation hospital or home.
Here are a few things to look for when choosing the right LTACH for yourself or a loved one:
Good Shepherd Specialty Hospital, the first LTACH hospital in the Lehigh Valley, is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2010. Known for its state-of-the-art technology and ventilator weaning program, Good Shepherd Specialty Hospital has built on Good Shepherd’s more than one hundred year tradition of quality, compassionate care. Congratulations, Good Shepherd Specialty Hospital!