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Subacute Care Nurse

By EveryNurse Staff on January 12, 2023

Subacute Care Nurse

Subacute care nurses are nursing professionals that treat patients that require round the clock – yet short-term – care until they are stabilized. Once patients are more stable, they can then be discharged or moved to a lower level of care, such as assisted-living facilities.

What Is Subacute Care?

Subacute health care is a type of inpatient care designed for patients who are suffering from health problems that are between acute and chronic. Individuals receiving subacute care are typically recovering from a hospital stay. 

In some healthcare settings, subacute care is also knows as ‘inpatient rehabilitation’, and is usually given to people who have been in hospital for more than a month. The care includes nursing, medicine, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, social work, and sometimes psychology. This care can last from weeks to years and there are different levels of support available depending on the person’s needs.

What Is a Subacute Care Nurse?

Subacute care nurses provide a series of intensive treatments and care for patients until they are stable enough to either be moved to a different level of care or able to be discharged. This is done with the aim to help patients regain as much independence as possible without needing constant assistance from health professionals on-site.

As an integral member of the nursing team, subacute care nurses help plan for discharge of patients, make sure supplies are ordered and ready for the upcoming treatment needs, manage patients’ medications as prescribed by their physician or other providers, and monitor food intake to ensure it is in line with their diet restrictions or nutritional needs.

A subacute care nurse will be responsible for providing instruction on good nutrition, hygiene, exercise and socialization, as well as rounding on patients on a regular schedule and providing updates to other nurses as needed about patient status changes. 

What Does a Subacute Care Nurse Do?

A subacute care nurse is a health professional who provides care and treatment for chronically hospitalized patients in their home or skilled nursing facility. They work in a wide variety of settings, including hospitals, long-term care facilities, assisted living facilities, or residential care facilities. A subacute care nurse works with patients who are recovering from illnesses and injuries such as heart attack, stroke, pneumonia, or other infections. They also treat chronic pain management for patients with arthritis, cancer, or other conditions that have left them disabled and bedridden.

The day-to-day activities of a subacute care nurse will vary depending on the condition and nursing care plan of the patient. Daily tasks may include the following:

  • Performing wound and skin care
  • Administering medications and treatments
  • Daily monitoring of patients
  • Recording vital signs
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Assisting with physical therapy
  • Providing care for patients on ventilators or respiratory therapy
  • Providing care for patients with swallowing disorders and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

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Where Do Subacute Care Nurses Work?

Subacute care nurses are frequently employed in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and assisted living facilities. The vast majority work in outpatient or inpatient care facilities including the following: 

  • Subacute care units
  • Assisted living facilities
  • Inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation centers
  • Hospitals
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Nursing homes
  • Physical therapy clinics
  • Home care agencies

Subacute Care Nurse Salary

According to the employment marketplace, ZipRecruiter, the nationwide average salary for Subacute Care Nurses was $84,523 per year as of June 1st, 2021. This salary is the equivalent of approximately $41.00 per hour or $7,044 per month. 

Top earners in the 90th percentile made $104,500 annually and the highest reported salaries exceeded $121,000. Seven of the top ten highest paying cities were in California, where opportunities for increased pay and advancement are abundant. 

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