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The Value of Transitional Care

By EmpowHER November 1, 2011 - 12:12pm

A Transitional Care Unit (TCU) is a short-term intensive rehabilitation facility that is typically a bridge between a hospital stay and returning home. It differs from a traditional nursing care center in several ways: First, the length of stay tends to be shorter, typically 21 to 33 days, and second, the type of rehabilitative care is more intensive. It is not unusual for patients in a TCU to receive up to three hours of rehabilitative therapy each day.

Good transitional care helps patients achieve better outcomes and reduce costs, according to a study published by Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice.

When comparing patients before and after TCU therapy, researchers found significant improvement in the patients’ functional status, depression, symptom status, self-reported health, and quality of life. Patients and doctors interviewed for the study reported a high level of satisfaction with TCU care and results showed a significant reduction in hospital readmissions three months after TCU enrollment, as well as a decrease in total health care costs of $439 per person per month.

It’s common for most people to think of “rehabilitation” as “physical therapy” but in reality it is much more. Rehabilitation is a wide variety of medical, psychological and physiological services to help one restore good health, function, strength, mobility, cognitive ability and usefulness in society.

Rehabilitation services are typically ordered by a doctor to help a patient recover from an illness or injury. Nurses and physical, occupational and speech therapists and social workers or case managers, as well as other health care professionals deliver these services.

Rehabilitation is critical to the healing process and often serves as a component of a greater health care plan. For patients well enough to be discharged from the hospital, but not yet ready to return home, inpatient rehabilitative care offers a safe and supportive transition. Your rehabilitation team works together to devise, implement and monitor therapy plans tailored to the specific needs of each patient.

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