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Prevalence of subacute patients in acute care: results of a study of VA hospitals.

Weaver FM, Guihan M, Hynes DM, Byck G, Conrad KJ, Demakis JG. Prevalence of subacute patients in acute care: results of a study of VA hospitals. Journal of medical systems. 1998 Jun 1; 22(3):161-72.

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Subacute care is a transitional level of care for medically stable patients who no longer require daily diagnostic/invasive care but require more intensive care than is typical in a skilled care facility. A Congressionally mandated study was undertaken to determine the number of VA patients with subacute needs being cared for in acute care. InterQual, Inc. subacute care criteria were retrospectively applied to 858 medical and surgical admissions from 43 VA hospitals. Over one-third contained at least one subacute day; with an average length of stay (LOS) of 12.7 days (SD = 12.4); of which 6.8 days were subacute. Patients with these admissions had significantly longer LOSs, were older, and were more likely to die or to be discharged to a nursing home. Diagnoses with subacute days included COPD, pneumonia, joint replacement, and cellulitis. Future studies should develop clinical pathways to prospectively manage admissions with subacute needs and then evaluate their effectiveness.

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