It can be difficult to determine whether or not you’re ready for long-term acute care (LTAC) or if a different type of care facility is right for you. As a patient liaison specialist, we like to ensure our patients are making informed decisions with all of the resources possible available to them. Here are some of the myths about LTAC we want to dispel:
- Insurance doesn’t cover an LTAC facility.
Actually, most LTAC facilities have contracts with many private insurance companies. As the United States’s aging population continues to grow — the age group 65 and older is now larger than all other age groups in the US combined — the pressure upon insurance companies will increase as well. Economic indicators predict that insurance coverage of LTAC facilities will continue to increase in the future, as our growing elderly population demands it.
- LTAC facilities can’t accept some patients.
While LTAC facilities have the autonomy to use any criteria they’d like, most facilities don’t place restrictions on patients needing long-term care. Many think that ICU-level patients or patients needing IV care aren’t accepted at LTAC facilities, when this simply isn’t true. Many LTAC facilities’ ability to care for these patients is at least comparable to, if not better than, the care they would receive in a hospital, because LTAC facilities are hospitals.
- LTAC facilities are only for hospice care patients.
Actually, hospice facilities serve a different type of patient than LTAC facilities. LTAC offers a focus on getting patients back to their lives within their communities. Hospice care facilities generally do not place such a premium on patient recovery.
- LTAC facilities are really just glorified nursing homes.
A completely different and generally considerably higher level of care is provided by LTAC facilities than at nursing homes. LTAC facilities are always hospitals. Their dedicated medical emphasis, including 24-hour physician care as well as laboratory access, pharmacies, radiology facilities, specialist consultations, and a full nursing staff, among other highly specialized services, sets them far apart from nursing homes.
- LTAC facilities don’t offer physical or occupational therapies.
On the contrary, physical and occupational therapies (PT/OT) are often a huge part of patient recovery. Part of the recovery efforts, as quickly as possible, are therapies to increase mobility and interactivity. Some may even begin PT/OT while on a ventilator. The determinations for PT/OT for each patient are made by their care team.
- LTAC facilities require patients to stay for at least 25 days.
The duration of a patient’s stay in an LTAC facility is determined by the severity of their condition and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to patient care. Every patient’s care is approached differently because every person is different. In an LTAC facility, patient care teams focus on a collaborative approach with the patient and their families and loved ones to ensure the best possible care — however long it may last.
- An LTAC facility won’t accept a patient who has spent fewer than three nights in an ICU.
Similar to the previous myth, a patient’s care is determined on an individual basis. Every patient receives a different care plan because every patient is different, and some patients’ needs for long-term care present more quickly or slowly than others. There simply is no universal solution.
We hope that this helps in answering some of your questions and concerns around long-term patient care. We know these are not the easiest of considerations to make, and we’re here for you if you have any questions. As a liaison for patients, Joshua Lee is determined to ensure all of our patients receive customized, personalized care that is perfect for their needs. We’d love to hear from you anytime.