Ensuring patients receive the right level of care at the right time in their care journey is especially critical in today’s environment.
However, it’s important to note that not all post-acute settings are created equal, as recently acknowledged by the American Hospital Association1. Since each setting is designed for a unique patient population, it is vital to understand their key differences and the impact on patient recovery.
Read this guide to learn about the key differences between the levels of post-acute care, the unique benefits of inpatient rehabilitation in treating patients recovering from COVID-19 as well as other medically complex conditions, and the opportunity to optimize your rehab program or start a new program.
The impact of COVID-19 has challenged all healthcare providers and will continue to do so for years to come2. By quickly adapting and incorporating new techniques to successfully treat the entire patient population – especially those recovering from COVID-19 – hospitals can ensure the highest quality outcomes across the care continuum.
The Unique Benefits of Acute Inpatient Rehabilitation
According to the American Hospital Association, “The pandemic has highlighted the uneven patient care abilities across the four PAC settings, with regard to physician leadership and oversight, the contributions of other specialists and clinicians, infection control reliability, and patient outcomes.” Each setting has value but is designed for specific and different patient types. This delta has the greatest consequence for medically complex patients and those recovering from COVID-191.
Additionally, “Early rehabilitation of COVID-19 patients can enhance pulmonary, respiratory function, reduce complications, improve function, cognitive impairments and quality of life,”3 according to a recent Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine study.
Inpatient rehabilitation offers a variety of resources and programs that help hospitals deliver quality care, reduce readmissions and improve overall facility operations. These include:
• Employing specially-trained registered nurses who are fully equipped to treat patients with various care needs
• Hospital-level infection control measures
• Daily physician oversight and a multidisciplinary therapy team providing daily therapy tailored to each patient
By increasing patient access to inpatient rehabilitation, hospitals are better able to deliver high-quality outcomes in a safe environment.
This focus on quality is evident in that acute inpatient rehabilitation units treat sicker patients yet produce better outcomes than other post-acute care settings4. Recent studies found that while treating a more complex patient population, inpatient rehabilitation operations maintain a higher discharge to the community rate of 70%, which is 37% higher than SNFs on average. The care provided in the inpatient rehabilitation setting continues to benefit patients even after discharge as they experience a lower rate of potentially avoidable hospital readmissions of 4.3% compared to 22% of SNF patients who were re-hospitalized after admission4.
Key Benefits of Acute Inpatient Rehabilitation and What Sets It Apart From Other Care Settings
Inpatient rehabilitation facilities and acute rehabilitation units offer a variety of benefits to the ever-growing patient population – many qualities other care settings do not provide. These include:
• Certification as acute care hospitals and licensed as freestanding inpatient rehabilitation hospitals or distinct rehabilitation units within a host hospital
• Daily physician visits
• Specialized training in rehab nursing; provide 24-hour nursing care; intervention, assessment, monitoring of: VS, IVFs/antibiotics, ostomy, catheter, trach, NG care; routine labs and diagnostics and respiratory equipment
• PT/OT/ST available with a patient willing and able to participate in therapy three hours a day, five days a week, or 15 hours over seven days. Requires the services of at least two therapy disciplines. Level of rehab services provided in acute rehab is more intense than other levels of post-acute care
• Interdisciplinary approach between physician, therapy team, and nursing to facilitate recovery. Physician-led weekly team conferences required
• Services on site: pharmacy, lab, radiology
• Continuous patient check-ups to ensure a patient’s functional prognosis is aligned with the goal that they will return to home or a community-based setting
Importance of Partnerships in Post-Acute Recovery
Strong coordination between an acute episode and the next level of care is more important than ever because of the unique and positive role rehabilitation units play in treating patients recovering from COVID-193.
Many hospitals are partnering with Kindred Hospital Rehabilitation Services (KHRS) as their rehabilitation expert to help them optimize their rehabilitation unit and relieve the burden of self-management. KHRS’ decades of experience and national footprint has enabled hospital partner facilities to experience a faster rebound with greater agility compared to self-operating facilities, while improving quality outcomes and delivering greater patient access.
Kindred Hospital Rehabilitation Services works with more than 300 hospital-based programs nationwide to provide clinical expertise, excellent outcomes and operational efficiency. kindredrehab.com
1. Nickels, T. (2020, June 24). AHA Letter on Resetting the IMPACT Act in Next COVID-19 Relief Package: AHA. Retrieved June 29, 2020, from https:// www.aha.org/lettercomment/2020-06-24-aha-letter-resetting-impact-act-next-covid-19-relief-package
2. Wade, D. T. (2020, June 09). Rehabilitation after COVID-19: An evidence-based approach [PDF]. Clinical Medicine.
3. Fary Khan, MBBS, MD, FAFRM (RACP), Bhasker Amatya, DMedSci, MD, MPH, “Medical Rehabilitation in Pandemics: Towards a New Perspective,” Journal of Rehabilitative Management, Vol. 52, Issue 4, April 9, 2020
4. Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities Fact Sheet [PDF]. (2015). American Hospital Association.
Kindred Hospital Rehabilitation works with more than 300 hospital-based programs nationwide to bring the best possible clinical and operational outcomes.