What is a Long Term Acute Care Hospital? Why Would I Need a Long Term Acute Care Hospital?

long term acute care hospital
Long term acute care hospitals (LTACH) provide intense treatment for patients who need at least 25 days of stay in a hospital. Long term acute care hospitals can be one of two types: a hospital within a hospital (HWH) or a standalone facility. There are approximately 400 LTACHs nationwide. It used to be that the only patients you would find in a long term acute care hospital were ventilator dependent patients. Not so, anymore. These highly specialized hospitals also offer a quality care environment for wound care, ulcers, renal failure and respiratory distress patients such as those with COPD and pneumonia.

LTACHs are committed to provide:

  • Physicians who are actively reviewing patient progress daily and are available on site.
  • Consulting physicians who can respond to individual patient care needs to enhance the care process, especially important with patients with many co-morbidities.
  • A comprehensive integrated patient review process that provides for screening patients continuously (pre admission and throughout stay) for appropriateness of stay in long term acute care environment.
  • Interdisciplinary teams to collaborate and carry out the treatment plans for each patient. These teams consist of different health care providers such as physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, etc.

When should a long term acute care hospital be considered?

Physicians typically consider transferring a patient from a short term to a long term acute care hospital when the patient doesn’t respond to treatment as expected. Common patient types transferred to long term hospitals include those:
  • Who require ventilator treatment and need to be weaned from being ventilator dependent.
  • With multiple admissions to hospitals with respiratory failure or COPD
  • With new tracheostomy post open heart or other surgery
  • With complex medical problems that result in frequent hospitalization

How to select the best long term acute care hospital

Regular, short term hospitals are the main admission sources for patients needing long term acute care. That means your physician will likely recommend one or two LTACHs if one is required. However, you still have a choice. We suggest you do your research before you accept his or her recommendation. Take the following factors into consideration before choosing a long term acute care hospital:

1. Location: Make sure the LTACH is close enough for loved ones to be able to visit frequently. Studies show that family involvement in hospitalizations prevents medical errors and assists in patient recovery.

2. Insurance: Verify the LTACH takes your insurance.

3. Quality: Quality is often overlooked but extremely important. WhereToFindCare.com is the only place that gives you a quality score to assist you in choosing a LTACH. The quality score is the percentage of people who rated their LTACH on WhereToFindCare.com and said they received quality care. When it's available, you'll find the quality score on the long term acute care hospital's profile page.

4. Recommendations: Word of mouth recommendations can tell us whether we can get along with providers on a personal level. Ask friends, family, and other associates if they have had experiences with the long term acute care hospitals on your list.

5. Reviews: Research online reviews-they are a valuable resource. They can give you a better picture of whether patients received quality care at the long term acute care hospital.

6. Amenities:Once you’ve narrowed down your list, you should consider all the other things each LTACH has to offer. How is the parking? What amenities are offered? Pick a LTACH where you'll feel as comfortable as possible.

Long term acute care hospitals are also known as

Long term acute care hospitals are also known as LTACHs, LTAC hospitals, long stay hospitals, long term hospitals, and LTACs.