How to Choose an LTACH

Making healthcare decisions for yourself or a loved one can be an intimidating process. Because long term acute care is such a specialized level of care, many people are unfamiliar with it until a personal need arises. Below are a few factors to consider in choosing the LTACH that is right for you and your family.

Quality of care provided at a long term acute care hospital should be your number one consideration. Don’t hesitate to ask questions of representatives from an LTACH to better understand the facility’s care.

  • What is the nurse-to-patient ratio?
  • Are your nurses certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS)?
  • How many days a week do you offer respiratory therapy?
  • Physical therapy?
  • What percentage of your patients are successfully weaned off a ventilator?
  • What percentage of your patients are discharged home, and how does that compare to national averages?

Administrators should be happy to share this kind of information with you, and provide you with a complete tour of the facility. During your tour, make it a point to note the following:

  • Is it a comfortable place?
  • Does it have a clean cafeteria, therapy areas, nursing station, and patient rooms/bathrooms?
  • Does it promote family education and involvement?
  • Does the staff greet you and make you feel welcome?

Recommendations from your physician are a very strong indicator of a long term acute care hospital’s role in the community. Because not all physicians routinely make referrals to LTACHs, however, you may need to “ask around” to find someone who is familiar with the LTACHs in your area. If you have experienced a stay in an acute care hospital, you can also consult with the discharge planners or case managers involved in your care.

Word of mouth recommendations can also prove very useful in selecting the long term acute care hospital that is right for you. Friends, relatives, neighbors and co-workers who can share their experiences – positive or negative – can provide a unique and personal perspective about an LTACH.

Location is another important component to consider. Family members often want to be physically close to loved ones who are in the hospital. The clinical teams at our hospitals encourage family involvement in the care planning process and welcome family and visitors.

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