Sub-acute care is a comprehensive, cost-effective inpatient level of care that is goal oriented and requires the services of a coordinated multidisciplinary team. The term could best be described by describing a typical patient and the conditions that may require sub-acute care:
A sub-acute care patient may be somebody
- who has had an acute event resulting from injury, illness or exacerbation of a disease process;
- who has had a determined course of treatment;
- who, though stable, require diagnostics or invasive procedures, but not intensive procedures requiring an acute level of care.
The severity of the patient's condition requires:
- active physician direction with frequent on-site visits;
- professional nursing care;
- an outcomes-focused interdisciplinary approach utilizing a professional team;
- complex medical and/or rehabilitative care.
Typically, short-term sub-acute care is designed to return patients to the community or transition them to a lower level of care. In other words, there is an expectation that they will improve. Treatment is usually rendered immediately after, or instead of acute hospitalisation.