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Subacute Rehab vs. Acute

To make the best choice when selecting a rehabilitation facility after discharge from the ICU, or intensive care unit, patients need to know the difference between subacute rehab and acute rehabilitation.

Research has shown that acute rehabilitation yields improved patient outcomes compared to subacute rehab.

What is acute rehabilitation?

Acute rehabilitation is an intensive form of medical rehabilitation in which patients receive three or more hours of core therapies per day (physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy). In acute rehabilitation settings, patients are cared for by a team of clinicians from a wide variety of medical fields.

What is subacute rehab?

Subacute rehab is a less intense version of medical rehabilitation where three hours of therapy per day are not required. Care is typically limited to the three core therapies, PT, OT and/or speech therapy.

How Else Do They Differ?

Acute Rehabilitation

  • Located in a Hospital - St. Charles is an acute rehabilitation hospital
  • Daily care by a physician specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation medicine. Called a physiatrist, this doctor assesses and monitors patient's medical and rehab status daily. The physiatrist also provides direction to a mutlidisciplinary team of clinical professionals.
  • Three hours of core therapies (PT, OT, Speech) five days a week. Other therapies are often provided.
  • Licensed and accredited for hospital-level rehabilitation care

Subacute Rehab

  • Called “Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers, “Nursing Homes” or “Skilled Nursing Facilities”
  • A stand-alone facility
  • Monthly or weekly care by doctor or other clinician. Physician interaction usually occurs once or twice a week. It is not required that the clinicians caring for you is a doctor. Doctors who oversee patient care are not required to specialize in rehabilitation.
  • Less intense and less comprehensive therapy

Acute Rehabilitation Programs at St. Charles


Guide to Acute Rehabilitation Programs at St. Charles

Learn more about St. Charles Hospital's Acute Rehabilitation Programs in our eight-page guide

Find It Here

St. Charles Maintains Highest Rehabilitation Accreditation; Adds Brain Injury Specialty

St. Charles has achieved its third consecutive three-year accreditation in Rehabilitation and added specialty accreditation in Brain Injury Rehabilitation from CARF International, the global leader in rehabilitation accreditation.

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