What is acute care?
Acute care is a type of health care that involves giving the patient short-term, but incredibly active treatments. Acute care is meant to target people who have acute health conditions. After acute care, the patient will either be discharged or will be required to be moved to a different hospital or different part of the hospital to receive more long-term and specialized long-term care.
What is considered an acute health condition?
This is where things begin to break down a bit, an acute health condition is classified as something that short-term. While people often associate the term “acute” with “threatening” or “severe”, acute health conditions can also be quite mild. For example, someone could have a stubbed toe and it would be considered as acute. Acute also applies to many of the everyday diseases we encounter over the years. For example, the common cold, the flu, and allergies are all acute in nature because of how quickly they begin. The word acute is commonly used to differentiate a disease or condition from it’s chronic, or long-term form. Another great example is acute leukemia and chronic leukemia. Acute leukemia will have no symptoms and then all will appear at once, someone could go from feeling great one day to being bed ridden the next. Someone breaking a bone or spraining a body part would also be called acute. Essentially, anything that has a very sudden and surprising arrival is an acute health condition. Some, like the common cold, will go away quite quickly and not leave people with long-term health effects, but others can possibly turn into long-term situations like a broken bone.
Where can someone receive acute care?
Acute care is offered at anywhere that someone could become acutely injured, hurt, or ill. Places that specialize in acute care are often only designed to handle very short term and intense treatment situations. For example, the emergency department of a hospital is considered an acute care facility. A lot of people come to the emergency room. However, once their acute care has been finished, they will either be discharged or moved to another area in the hospital for more specialized and long-term care. Another example is inside an ambulance, which is essentially an emergency room on wheels. Surgeries can also be counted towards this list of places to get acute care since sometimes people have to be rushed into surgery in order to save their life.
The difference between acute and chronic can be a bit confusing at first. A lot of people associate the words acute and chronic with the same meaning of being extremely threatening to one’s well being. However in all reality, an acute health condition could really just be a stubbed toe or a sudden appearance of the common cold. While you probably won’t hear a doctor refer to the flu as “acute” by definition it is. However, most people use the term with a condition that puts the person in immediate and real danger.