The Difference Between Post–Acute and Long-Term Care

man in wheelchair at health center getting therapy 

When a person is discharged from the hospital following an illness or injury, they are often ready to go home and recuperate on their own. But in many cases, although the patient is no longer in need of hospital services, they do still require medical care. Bella Vista Health Center and other skilled nursing facilities offer post-acute care services to bridge the gap between hospital and home. 

What is post-acute care?

Post-acute care refers to a range of medical care services for patients who are transitioning out of a hospital setting but still require medical attention. It can be long-term or short-term, depending on the illness or injury, but either way, post-acute care focuses on recovery and rehabilitation and/or management of chronic symptoms. 

How is long-term acute care different from traditional long-term care? 

It’s important to distinguish between traditional long-term care (such as assisted living) and long-term acute care.  In most cases, traditional long-term care focuses on patient comfort, medication management, and assistance in daily living.  Post-acute care does involve medication management and help with performing tasks such as bathing and dressing, but it also includes skilled nursing care by medical professionals and treatment plans designed to help patients recover, rehabilitate, and restore functioning. 

Types of post-acute care

The specifics of post-acute care treatment plans vary from patient to patient, depending on their condition and the types of specialized medical attention they require. For example, some of the types of post-acute care we offer at Bella Vista Health Center include the following: 

Wound care – Specialized treatment to promote the healing or management of a range of chronic and acute wounds, including post-operative wounds, diabetic ulcers, pressure wounds, and vascular ulcers. Wound care often includes nutritional therapy to promote healing. 

Amputation care – Following the loss of a limb, amputation care includes wound care, physical therapy to promote muscle strength and endurance, and occupational therapy to assist with adaptations in the tasks of daily living. 

Burn recovery – Passive range of motion procedures, patient monitoring, and anti-deformity positioning help promote healing and prevent complications during the recovery process for patients with severe burns. The interdisciplinary team of providers trained in burn recovery often includes occupational and physical therapists and wound care specialists. 

Post-stroke recovery – Daily individualized therapy sessions help patients regain lost abilities and skills following a stroke. Physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech therapists work as part of a cross-functional team with doctors to restore patient functioning and quality of life.  

Pulmonary rehabilitation – Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other respiratory conditions, or those recovering from lung surgery are monitored and treated by a team of providers who specialize in respiratory care. Treatment plans are designed to help patients breathe better, manage symptoms, and make lifestyle choices that allow them to maintain the highest possible level of independence and functionality.   

Hip fracture or replacement – Patients who suffer from a fall or who undergo a hip replacement often receive physical and occupational therapy to help restore their strength, balance, and coordination, and to learn skills and techniques that will aid in fall prevention and provide a safe return to independent living.  

Seeking post-acute care in San Diego? Come see us!

At Bella Vista Health Center, our 5-star skilled nursing facility provides a home-away-from-home for patients of all ages who are transitioning out of the hospital but who still require specialized care following an illness or injury.  A team of compassionate and highly qualified medical professionals creates a treatment plan designed to help each patient achieve their recovery goals and live their best lives.  For more information about our skilled nursing services and rehabilitation programs, give us a call at 619-644-1000 or drop by our facility in Lemon Grove today.