What is a subacute rehab?
A subacute rehab facility is for patients who no longer need an acute level of care but do require therapy or nursing services. A subacute rehab may be located within a hospital or in a nursing home. Generally, in order for Medicare to cover the cost of subacute rehab you must have been admitted into the hospital for 3 full days (72 hours).
Why would you need subacute rehab?
Laying immobile in a hospital bed (or on the couch, or sitting in a chair) leads to decreased muscle strength. You can lose up to 5% of your muscle strength per day. This muscle weakness leads to a much greater risk of falling. Falling leads to a MUCH greater risk of needing long term care.
According to the Merck Manual
“10 days of bed rest takes 4 months to restore. “
What happens in a subacute rehab facility?
Subacute rehab care may include 1-2 hours of physical therapy, occupational therapy or speech therapy each day and nursing care as directed by your physician.
Physical Therapy uses exercises to help you regain range of motion, increase muscle strength and improve balance and endurance. Types of physical exercise may include stretching, walking climbing stairs and transferring from sitting to standing or bed to chair.
Occupational Therapy concentrates on helping you regain the ability to perform meaningful activities of daily life such as dressing, eating, cooking or brushing your teeth.
Speech Therapy focuses on improving your ability to speak clearly or communicate more effectively if you are not able to use your voice. Speech therapists also assist in improving the ability to swallow.
Skilled Nursing may work to educate you on your new medical treatments and routines, provide IV therapy as well as to improve your overall physical health.
Why Should I Care?
Many illness and injuries may cause you to need subacute rehab. You may need additional rehab once you return home.
By actively participating in regaining your strength you will be more likely to remain independent and safe at home.