Long-Term Acute Care: What to Expect
Long-term acute care  (LTCH) hospitals provide medical and rehabilitative care for longer periods to people with complex problems. A typical stay is 25 days. Acute and chronic conditions that may require long-term care include:
- Cardiac and respiratory problems
- Complex wounds 
- Spinal cord injury  and brain trauma 
- Acute chronic renal disease
- Long-term antibiotic administration and pain management
Who decides if long-term care is needed?
Patients are most often referred to the LTCH by their attending physician from a traditional, or acute care, hospital. Care managers and family members also can be instrumental in decision-making.
What can you expect from long-term acute care for you or your family member?
At Good Shepherd Specialty Hospital , the first long-term acute care facility in the Lehigh Valley, our staff uses a approaches treatment from every angle to provide the best individualized care for our patients.
All treatment is under the direction of a physician who orchestrates the specialists and support services necessary to treat complex conditions.
Patients and their families are part of the planning, goal-setting and decision-making for their treatment. Communication between all parties is a key to success.
Among the areas of expertise that our care teams provide are:
Respiratory Care - Chronic problems, acute disease, spinal cord injury  and traumatic brain injury  can all cause respiratory failure, often necessitating a ventilator to perform the work of breathing for an unspecified time. Our aim is to help patients achieve their optimum functional respiratory level. The ultimate goal is to wean patients off ventilators  completely.
Nursing - Our nursing professionals assure complete and correct medication delivery, lab results review, cardiac monitoring, complex and specialized wound care, fluid management, daily physical assessment and progress trends. They are capable of administering some of the most specialized medicines used in the intensive care units. Plus, all nurses are ACLS-certified (Advanced Cardiac Life Support), which allows them to perform well in unforeseen rapid response situations.
Therapy - Though the Good Shepherd name means “rehabilitation” to many, the Good Shepherd Specialty Hospital is not primarily a rehabilitation center. Our patients’ conditions are more serious. We do offer physical, occupational and speech therapy and provide our patients with individualized treatment based on their needs and their ability. Patients who are able typically receive an hour-and-a-half of therapy a day – half of what patients receive at Good Shepherd’s Inpatient Rehabilitation Hospital in Allentown.
Care Management - Our care management professionals work closely with patients and families from admission to discharge. They are adept at coordination and communication and help families navigate three main areas:
- The administrative demands of the health-care process
- The plan and purpose of treatment
- The resources and choices available to patients upon discharge (many move on to inpatient rehabilitation or skilled nursing).
At Good Shepherd, we aim to provide our patients with long-term care  to meet their changing needs, not just temporary treatment. We know that patients may feel somewhat displaced when they come to our hospital, so we focus on getting them back to their previous network of care providers. Not until we’ve done that do we consider our effort a success.