Patients recovering from serious illnesses or injury often require additional critical care of complex conditions such as trauma, stroke, ventilator weaning, infectious diseases, and more. Dealing with these kinds of medical conditions requires the multi-faceted care of a professional team.
That’s a big part of what long-term acute care is: the involvement of a team that’s specifically trained to care for patients who need to stay in the hospital more than 25 days. What should you or your loved one’s long-term acute care team look like? Let’s take a look.
A long-term acute care team is likely to include a full-time medical director, as well as specially trained medical professionals such as physicians, nurses, therapists and specialists. All of them should have earned – and continue to earn and maintain – advanced certifications that provide them with in-depth knowledge needed to deliver exceptional care. These certifications include:
- Critical Care Registered Nursing certifications
- Certifications to treat adults who have suffered brain injuries and strokes
- Advanced Cardiac Life Support certifications
The Members of Your Long-term Acute Care Team
Your long-term acute care team may include (depending on your specific needs):
1. Long-term Care Acute Physician
This is the physician who will lead your treatment team and help deliver a personalized plan for you. Your specific medical needs may also require the care of other physicians. The goal is to ensure that your care is complete and maximizes your recovery.
2. Long-term Acute Care Nurse
Your primary nurse will manage all aspects of your treatment and help personalize your care depending on your specific needs. In addition, patient care technicians will assist with hygiene and provide physical care to ensure your comfort.
3. Case Manager
Your case manager will provide you and your family with progress reports while also coordinating your discharge needs and planning. He or she will also answer your insurance coverage and billing questions.
4. Respiratory Therapist
Respiratory therapists serve a variety of important functions, including pulmonary support, specialized treatments, and will help to wean you off of a ventilator if needed.
5. Physical and Occupational Therapists
Your illness or injury may very well have left you with issues such as lack of mobility, balance, stamina, movement, and weakness – which is what your physical therapist will help you with.
The occupational therapist will assist and teach you to perform essential activities such as meal preparation, eating, personal hygiene and dressing.
6. Speech-language Pathologist
Your medical condition may have caused problems with your ability to speak, read, write, swallow, or understand. A speech-language pathologist will help you with these conditions.
It’s crucial that your diet include the necessary nutrition to help in your rehabilitation. Your dietitian will ensure that you’re getting the proper therapeutic diet, as well has providing you and your family members with nutrition guidelines to follow for when you return home.
8. Clinical Pharmacist
Your clinical pharmacist will work closely with the physician and nurses to manage your medication needs.