5 FAQs About Long-Term Acute Care Hospitals

When the intensive care unit of a traditional hospital no longer requires intensive diagnostic procedures for a critically-ill patient, the patient may be moved to a long term acute care hospital or facility.

Skilled nursing facilities, a nursing home, or an acute rehabilitation facility have long term acute care nurse staffing who offer detailed services to these patients.

More often than not, long term acute care facilities are able to provide more cost-effective care because they are able to focus their energy and resources at a limited number of specialized treatments with minimal overhead.

Patients in a Long Term Acute Care Facility

Long term acute care nurse staffing companies provide employment for nurses who take care of patients with serious medical problems.

Patients must need more than 25 days of acute long term care, thus, the average stay of a patient in an acute long term care facility is approximately 30 days.

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and Cedars Sinai identified the types of patients typically seen in a long term acute care facility as those requiring medical treatments like:

  • Prolonged ventilator use or weaning
  • Ongoing dialysis for chronic renal failure
  • Intensive respiratory care
  • Multiple IV medications or transfusions
  • Complex wound care or care for burns
  • Two or more chronic health problems
  • Surgical complications
  • Neurological (brain) issues

Luckily, there are companies that offer long term acute care nurse staffing to cater to these patients in these specialized facilities that offer the same level of care for critically ill patients.

How long the patient will stay in the facility is based on their medical condition and how much they are progressing during their stay in the facility.

Responsibilities of Nurses in  a Long Term Acute Care Facility

There are certain qualifications for nurse staffing in long term acute care facilities that federal law has required.  These standards haven’t been updated since it was implemented thirty years ago.

 It is thus a controversy that the heavy workload of nursing staff is not adequate to ensure a competent and safe workplace.

Nurse.org stated that the Nursing Home Reform Law of 1987 requires long term care facilities to have:

  • A registered nurse eight consecutive hours, seven days a week
  • Licensed nurses 24 hours a day
  • Otherwise “sufficient nursing staff to meet residents’ needs

Long term acute care nurse staffing companies are consistently hiring qualified nurses for these facilities to address the pressing need.

Because of the increase in acuity level of patients being brought to these facilities, long term acute care nurses are also expected to perform higher-level nursing skills and rehabilitation needs including:

  • Tracheostomies
  • Complex wound care
  • TPN (Total Parenteral Nutrition)
  • Assisted ventilation
  • JP (Jackson-Pratt) drains
  • Life vests
  • IV medications

Even more medically complex patients require more complex nursing responsibilities to reduce rehospitalizations.  In a typical eight-hour shift, a registered nurse in an acute long term care facility is expected to:

  • Pass meds at least twice per shift (within a two-hour time frame)
  • Monitor blood sugars and give insulin
  • Check vital signs
  • Manage certified nursing assistants
  • Watch mealtimes
  • Perform wound care
  • Receive and transcribe physician’s orders
  • Complete incident reports
  • Complete documentation
  • Arrange transportation, diagnostic testing, and schedule appointments
  • Ensure patients are safe and cared for
  • Notifying physicians and family members of any concerns

Long term acute care nurse staffing companies ensure that traveling nurses they hire not only perform the above mentioned responsibilities with critical thinking skills and independence but the LTAC nurse should also be able to demonstrate safe and effective use of equipment such as:

  • CPM
  • Oxygen wall regulators/portable oxygen
  • Patient call system
  • Electronic thermometer
  • TPN administration
  • Specialty beds
  • NG tubing/suctioning
  • Drains
  • Safety bed alarm system
  • IV pump
  • Gait belt
  • Dinamap
  • PCA
  • Defibrillator
  • Insulin pump
  • Enteral feeding pump
  • Computer, printer, copier, fax
  • Lifting equipment

Travel Assignments and Jobs for Long Term Acute Care Nurse Staffing

Nursing is one of the top ten occupations with the largest job growth according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  There is a growing need for long term acute care nurse staffing in LTAC facilities all over the country.

This situation has made it possible for registered nurses to consider working outside a traditional hospital and in a long term acute care facility instead.  Long term acute care nurse staffing companies have opened opportunities now for nurses to work in a great environment and enjoy free time seeing places as a traveling nurse.