7 Myths of LTACHs
Long-term acute care hospitals (LTACHs) are designed to help patients advance their recovery when traditional hospitals may not have the time or resources to help them. But, when it comes to long-term acute care, there are many misconceptions. From the services provided to admission requirements and insurance coverage, we’ve taken some of the most common myths about long-term acute care hospitals and clarified them below.
Myth #1: Long-term acute care hospitals are nursing homes
Fact: Long-term acute care hospitals provide a higher level of care than nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). An LTACH is similar to an intensive care unit (ICU). Because LTACHs are hospitals, they have 24-hour physician coverage along with many specialized services on-site, including:
- Full nursing staff
- Physical, occupational, speech, and respiratory therapies
- Dietary and advanced nutrition services
- Radiology, pharmacy, and laboratory services
Long-term acute care hospitals are uniquely designed to provide care for patients with complex medical needs.
Myth #2: Patients admitted to an LTACH are required to stay 25 days
Fact: The amount of time a patient stays in an LTACH is dependent upon their illness or injury, complications, and goals. Every patient is different because every human is different. In an LTACH, physicians collaborate with patients and their loved ones to create an individualized plan of care to help patients achieve their unique recovery goals.
Myth #3: LTACHs are where people go to get hospice care
Fact: Most patients do not receive hospice care while staying in an LTACH. Long-term acute care hospitals focus on getting patients back to life in their communities. Patients and their families choose LTACHs because they offer aggressive treatment for diseases and injuries.
Myth #4: Patients don’t get physical therapy or occupational therapy at an LTACH
Fact: While most patients in an LTACH are quite ill, early mobility is essential to a patient’s long-term outcome. LTACHs have therapists on staff who provide services specific to this level of care. Patients in an LTACH may begin receiving physical and/or occupational therapy even while on a ventilator. Physical and occupational therapists can create therapy regimens appropriate for each patient.
Myth #5: LTACHs can’t accept ICU-level patients or patients on an IV drip
Fact: Much like an intensive care unit, LTACHs focus on critical care of patients. Nurses and staff are specially trained to care for patients who are critically ill or have a complicated medical history.
Myth #6: A patient must spend at least three nights in an ICU before admitting to an LTACH
Fact: While LTACHs do commonly treat patients who have spent at least three nights in an ICU, this is not a requirement for LTACH treatment for all patients.
Myth #7: Insurance won’t pay for an LTACH
Fact: Most LTACHs have contracts with numerous insurance companies. LTACHs work directly with insurance providers to ensure coverage prior to a patient’s admission.