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What Is Acute Inpatient Rehab?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Acute inpatient rehabilitation or rehab is therapy to help patients regain functioning after serious medical setbacks. This can include injuries, disorders, and acute addiction. Patients receive at least three hours of care daily that may include a variety of activities, depending on why they are in the facility. Most institutions providing acute inpatient rehab specialize in particular issues, like neurological disorders, and may refer patients with other issues to different facilities.

Patients typically need to be medically stable before they can start acute inpatient rehab. While these facilities can handle some medical problems, they are not equipped for critical care medicine and may not be able to provide appropriate care to people who are still in a state of medical crisis. Once a patient is stable, a transfer to a rehabilitation facility or separate wing in a hospital is possible. The stay usually starts with an assessment.

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A medical professional can meet with the patient to collect history and go over the patient’s current level of functioning. This can help establish goals for acute inpatient rehab. Someone with a mild stroke, for instance, might be able to recover full use of the affected side of the body over time. Severe head injuries, on the other hand, may not be as treatable, and the focus may be on helping the patient develop coping skills for independence.

Intensive therapy within an acute inpatient rehab unit can include psychological counseling, physical therapy, and speech-language therapy, depending on why the patient is in treatment. It is often grueling, because patients are expected to work for several hours under supervision and may have work to do on their own as well. Nursing staff provide support and help patients with activities like bathing, eating, and dressing. Rehabilitation nursing can include an element of encouragement to support patients on their therapeutic paths, like helping a stroke patient walk around a unit to get some exercise.

Patients may spend several days to weeks in acute inpatient rehab. As their needs decline, they can transition to outpatient services. They visit facilities one or more days a week for therapy sessions and a discussion about whether they are meeting their goals. Eventually, the patient may graduate from the program altogether, without any further need for rehabilitation services. This can take a long time, and requires focused work on the part of the patient, who needs to cooperate with care providers and other personnel to meet treatment goals.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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