What is an LTACH? (2023)

The medical world has been witnessing a surge in medical research and specialization over the past few decades. With this, the need for specialty hospitals has also increased such as a long-term acute care hospital (LTACH). They are one type of specialty hospital that caters to the needs of patients who require long-term care. These types of hospitals specialize in treating patients who require long-term care. An LTACH can be the right choice for you if you’re looking for a hospital that focuses on caring for patients who need long-term care. Let’s take a look at the LTACH.

What is a Long Term Acute Care Hospital – LTACH?

An LTACH is set up to provide a full range of specialized medical services for people who have critical, chronic, or complex conditions. It is an acute care hospital that tailors an interdisciplinary approach to care to meet the needs of the patient. A patient will have a stay in an LTACH that extends beyond 25 days, and many patients receive care for months at a time. They also specialize in serving individuals who require intensive medical management and extended recovery time.

Who is this for?

People who are recovering from surgery after major surgery, such as heart bypass surgery or hip replacement. These patients may be able to go home after their surgery if they do not have any complications during recovery. If they do have complications, however, they will likely need to stay at an LTACH until they are well enough to go home again.

Patients who suffer from chronic illnesses such as diabetes or congestive heart failure may need to be admitted to an LTACH if their condition worsens and requires additional treatment beyond what can be provided by their primary care physician or local hospital emergency department. For example, if someone with chronic kidney disease develops sepsis (a severe infection of the bloodstream), he or she may need intensive medical treatment that is only available at an LTACH.

The benefits of long-term acute care hospitals

Continuous monitoring

An LTACH will have specialized team members that monitor your condition closely so they can recognize any changes in your condition early on and make necessary changes to your treatment plan quickly.


Visiting hours are usually longer at an LTACH than at general hospitals because visitors play an important role in helping patients recover faster.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy helps patients improve mobility and independence by helping to restore function and decrease pain. It also helps to prevent injury or reinjury by improving strength.

High quality medical care

Patients at an LTACH usually receive a higher quality of medical care than those at other types of hospitals because they are cared for by specialists and nurses who specialize in caring for critically ill patients. This means that patients will receive better treatment from doctors who have more experience dealing with complicated cases like theirs.

Quality of life

Since patients are more comfortable and have more control over their environment, they tend to have fewer complications and get better faster than those who receive treatment in traditional acute care settings.

Specialized medical staff

Specialized physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals work together to provide the best possible care for you and your family members at an LTACH.

Recovery time

Like any other type of specialized facility, an LTACH will offer advanced equipment, procedures, and treatments that can help patients recover more quickly than they would in an ordinary hospital. They also provide increased privacy and comfort because they’re smaller than other hospitals and usually staffed by highly specialized professionals with years of experience in their field.

What to look for when choosing the right facility

Licensing and accreditation

Every state has its own laws regarding licensing and accreditation requirements for hospitals. You should make sure that your chosen LTACH has been approved by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) or another accrediting organization. You can go to Medicare Care Compare for more details on the quality ratings as well.


Be sure that your LTACH is located near enough to where you live so that you can visit easily, but not so far that it might cause undue stress for family members who live far away. Also, make sure that there are adequate transportation options available so that you can get there safely without having to rely on others for rides or taxis.

Caring staff

Staff members at an LTACH go through extensive training so they can provide excellent care for their patients. The staff should always appear friendly and welcoming while still maintaining professionalism. You should also feel comfortable asking questions or expressing concerns without feeling like your concerns will be ignored or dismissed by staff members.

A clean environment

A clean environment is essential when choosing any health care facility, but especially so when choosing an LTACH where patients will be staying longer than they would at other facilities


We hope this article has helped you understand the factors that make up an LTACH, as well as how they’re different from other inpatient facilities. Long-term acute care hospitals are unique among inpatient facilities because of their intense, specialized care. They are proven effective at helping patients who have been hospitalized for an extended time due to serious illness or injury reach lasting recovery and return home.

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GreySteps is where you will learn how to find the best senior care options for yourself or loved ones. We provide guides and resources for independent living, long-term acute care hospitals, hospice and other senior care options.