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A healthcare professional sits with a resident on edge of a bed and talks to them.

What Is Acute Care? Understanding Acute Care Services vs. Subacute Care

Navigating the medical world and its abundance of terminology and acronyms can be confusing, even for the most astute individual. When it comes to determining the type of medical care you need, how do you know what to choose? For instance, what is considered acute care? How do you know whether you need acute care vs. primary care, acute care vs. intensive care, or even acute care vs. ambulatory care? And what does it mean to receive subacute care? If you’re not quite clear on the differences between acute care and subacute care, read on to find out more and to learn how Auburn Rehabilitation and Health Care can help you in your rehabilitation journey.

Acute Care vs. Primary Care vs. Subacute Care

Breaking down the types of care you can receive is easy when you think of it in three levels:

  1. Acute Care
  2. Subacute Care
  3. Primary Care

Primary care is your lowest level and is considered your routine medical care. This is what you receive when you visit the doctor for an annual checkup or physical exam. Acute care and subacute care are different: They are types of care provided in response to a more urgent medical need, typically provided in conjunction with a stay at a medical facility.

What are examples of acute care, you might wonder? Acute care can be defined as medically urgent treatment for a short-term need, like a severe injury or illness, a pressing medical condition or a surgical recovery. So, then, is acute care the same as ICU? And is acute care serious? Well, yes, in a way; the intensive care unit is one type of acute care provider. Other acute care facility examples include the hospital emergency department, an ambulatory surgery center, an urgent care center or another short-term stay facility that addresses urgent medical needs. Since acute care includes emergency medicine, critical care, trauma care and more, it is often focused on serious medical needs.

In contrast to acute care, subacute care takes place following a stay in an acute care center; subacute care functions as a temporary or short-term step in the rehabilitative journey, and while the services needed are typically less intensive than those needed in an acute care setting, the length of the subacute stay is generally longer than that of a stay in an acute care facility.

Acute Care vs. Subacute Rehabilitative Services

Both acute and subacute care services offer rehabilitative therapy, but there are some differences. For instance, acute care physical therapy is limited to evaluating your ability to function well enough to leave the hospital. This might include evaluating your bed mobility (the ability to move around in bed – side to side, or from a lying position to sitting), your ability to successfully complete transfers from one body position to another or from surface to surface, or your ability to walk.

Subacute care rehabilitative services move beyond these functions to help you address more complex needs, including increasing your balance, improving your safety as you walk or move about, helping provide medical care such as wound or pain management or respiratory care, and more. Subacute rehab centers typically address the needs of individuals who need less than three hours of therapy a day. While some hospitals or acute care facilities might recommend a stay in their own subacute rehab facility, it’s always good to evaluate your options. For instance, many assisted living communities or senior rehabilitation centers, such as Centro de Rehabilitación y Cuidado de la Salud de Auburn, offer subacute rehabilitative care services.

Explore Senior Wellness and Rehabilitation at Auburn

At Auburn Rehabilitation and Health Care, we offer care plans individualized to the needs of you or your senior loved one. We integrate specialized physicians and therapists to help you recover quickly and effectively, with subacute rehabilitative services including neurology, and physical, occupational and speech therapy, as well as post-surgery or stroke recovery and wound care.

The experienced, licensed health care professionals and Medical Director here at Auburn can help you understand more about when senior rehabilitation might be necessary for you or your loved one, as well as the methods that will lead to the most success in your recovery. Our exercise groups and recreational programs will help ensure you are able to socialize with other residents, and our furnished rooms and baths provide a safe, comfortable and home-like atmosphere.

Contact us today to learn more about our community. Give us a call at 217-438-6125; we look forward to answering your questions!