Selecting an LTACH
Long Term Acute Care Hospitals (“LTACHs”) provide care for those who are ready to be discharged from a general acute care hospital, but require an extended period of intensive medical care before they are ready to return home. Treatment and care is designed to bridge the gap between the acute care hospital and home.
When should a long term acute care hospital be considered?
Physicians typically consider transferring a patient to a long term acute care hospital when the patient does not respond to treatment as expected or requires treatment for an extended period of time. Patients are admitted to a Cornerstone hospital with a variety of medical conditions, which may include:
- Wound Care
- Critical Conditions, including multiple system failure, pre and post-operative organ transplant care and post-surgery with complications
- Cardiac and Heart Conditions
- Kidney and Renal Concerns
- Gastrointestinal and Stomach Conditions
- Infectious Disease
- Neurological Disorders
How do you choose the right LTACH?
When considering long term acute care hospitalization for you or a loved one, you have a choice. We recommend that you consider the following factors before choosing a long term acute care hospital:
Quality and Patient Safety
Quality and patient safety are primary considerations when considering a LTACH. Some questions to ask the hospital representatives include:
- What is the nurse-to-patient ratio?
- Are their nurses certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS)?
- How does the hospital utilize therapy in the plan of care?
- What percentage of patients are successfully weaned off a ventilator?
- What is the hospital acquired infection rate compared to the national average?
- What is the readmission rate to an acute care hospital compared to the national average?
- How does the hospital avoid medication errors?
Ask for a tour of the hospitals you are considering. A tour provides the opportunity to meet hospital staff and assess the hospital environment first-hand. Hospital representatives should be available to spend time with you and address your questions in a friendly, easy to understand way.
During your tour, note the following elements:
- Are the primary services areas, including patient rooms, bathrooms, cafeteria, therapy areas, and nursing station, clean and well-lit?
- Is it a comfortable place that will make you or your loved feel at home?
- Do the staff members seem to be friendly and relaxed?
- Do the staff members greet you and make you feel welcome?
Such impressions speak to pride in the facility and a healthy work environment, both of which we believe lead to better patient experiences and health outcomes.
Patient Satisfaction Scores
Many hospitals, like Cornerstone, conduct patient satisfaction surveys to determine how well they perform from the patient’s perspective, and share them with prospective patients. Request a copy and ask how the hospital works to ensure an excellent patient experience.
Case Management Staff
Choose facilities with friendly, reliable case managers. Case managers work directly with the patient, family and care team. They help patients and their families navigate the hospitalization and plan for discharge. A good case manager is key to getting the best and most, appropriate care for you or your loved one.
Ask friends, family, and associates if they have had experiences with the long term acute care hospitals on your list. Word of mouth recommendations can tell you whether you can get along with providers on a personal level.
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.