As medically complex patient needs continue to rise, access to specialized resources and expertise is more important than ever. Some care settings are not adequately equipped to take on chronic conditions, especially as medically complex patients often require longer stay lengths and recovery times.

Long-term acute care hospitals (LTACHs) are intensive care unit (ICU)-level settings that specialize in providing continued acute care for medically complex patients. Discharging these patients to LTACHs when appropriate can benefit both patients and hospitals, and therefore can help prevent costly patient setbacks and readmissions.

Read more to learn the additional benefits of timely discharge to LTACHs and how partnership with a focused expert can help your hospital maintain these outcomes long-term.

Moving medically complex patients into an LTACH as soon as possible following a hospitalization can contribute to improved hospital cost savings and patient recovery.

One case study published by the Journal of Medical Economics evaluated the costs and outcomes of LTACH-eligible patients who remained in a short-term acute care hospital (STACH) for over 30 days versus those who discharged to an LTACH. The findings included:1

  • Reduced cost: Mean daily cost per LTACH-eligible patient was 24 percent less for those who transferred to an LTACH compared to those who remained in an STACH.
  • Improved outcomes: Medically complex patients who received care at an LTACH were discharged home 3X as often as those who were LTACH-eligible but remained in the STACH.

Improved outcomes: Medically complex patients who received care at an LTACH were discharged home 3X as often as those who were LTACH-eligible but remained in the STACH.

These outcomes are one of the many examples showcasing the overarching benefit of long-term acute care for patients and the acute hospital.

While the benefits are clear, running an LTACH requires specialized expertise. Partnering with a specialized LTACH provider through a joint-venture or contract management agreement can reduce the burden and expand patient access to needed specialized care. The specialized expertise that partnership provides can help identify patients that can most benefit from LTACH level care and help them transition smoothly. This relieves capacity restraints from the acute hospital, helps improve patient outcomes and ultimately enhances satisfaction throughout the hospital.

Read our white paper, “Complex Patients, Complex Treatment: Benefits of Timely Discharge to LTACHs” to learn more about the benefits of early discharge to LTACHs.


References:

  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3111/13696998.2010.551163
By Kindred