Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County has an expanded 69-bed unit for seriously ill acute patients who require extended hospital stays before returning home. Lourdes Specialty Hospital of Southern New Jersey LLC is a partnership between Lourdes Health System and AcuityHealthcare of Charlotte, N.C. It is the first long-term acute care hospital, or LTAC, in southern New Jersey. There are four other such facilities in the state, located in Essex, Monmouth and Ocean counties and is now the largest such facility in the Delaware Valley.
The primary purpose of an LTAC is to give patients the long-term healing time and attention they need to gain strength and improved health before going home or being transferred to another level of care, such as a rehab hospital or skilled nursing facility. Although the hospital is located on the third floor of LMCBC, and is completely integrated within the hospital, the Specialty Hospital operates as a separate and distinct facility. It accepts patients from other hospitals around the region.
Patients treated at LTACs like the Lourdes Specialty Hospital will typically have a longer length of stay than acute care hospitals, averaging 25 days compared to five days. This is due to patients’ complex medical and rehabilitative needs. Patients are admitted directly from short-stay hospitals, often from intensive care units, with ventilator-dependent respiratory failure or other complex medical conditions that require aggressive and continuous acute-care services. The unit is designed for patients with:
- Cardiopulmonary conditions resulting from trauma;
- A severe medical illness or post-operative problem, or
- The development of an acute illness superimposed on a chronic illness like malnutrition, cardiac disease or COPD.
Many of LTAC patients require weaning from a ventilator or special care for respiratory or cardiac conditions. LTAC patients are considered “medically complex” and have a number of medical conditions at the same time. For example:
- Kidney problems that require dialysis;
- Infectious diseases that require long-term I.V. therapy
- Complicated post-surgical recoveries;
- Vascular disorders worsened by conditions such as unstable diabetes, high blood pressure, heart arrhythmias and swelling
- Complex wounds (Stage III and IV) with a need for intensive assessment and treatment using specialized medical equipment;
- Neurological and musculoskeletal disorders requiring comprehensive rehabilitation such as brain and spinal cord injuries
- Degenerative diseases; fractures; joint replacements; amputations; and multiple trauma usually complicated by medical instability or deconditioning following a lengthy illness or surgery precluding the patient from meeting acute rehabilitation criteria.
The unit has a staff of affiliated doctors, nurses and therapists who keep the patient’s primary physician informed of progress made during the stay. Each patient has an individualized care plan developed with his or her family. The family is encouraged to be involved, with a positive outcome the focus of care.
If an emergency does arise, however, the resources of Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County are only a few steps away, 24 hours a day.
For more information, to make a referral or to reach the management and staff of Lourdes Specialty Hospital of Southern New Jersey, call 609-835-3650.