Acute Rehab vs. SNF

  • Patients have various options to meet their rehabilitation needs, however it is essential that they be educated on the differences in those options. For patients who are seeking rehabilitation services, there are typically two options to select: Acute Rehab or Skilled Nursing Facility. Below is a chart to detail the differences between these options to allow for the patient to determine what option meets their current medical and rehabilitation needs.

    Services Typical Inpatient Rehab Facility Typical Skilled Nursing Facility
    Physician visits Daily 1 to 3 X per week
    Type of physician

    Physiatrist - 24-hour availability

    Geriatrician, internist, family practitioner - limited availability
    Consultants All specialties readily available Limited specialist availability
    Nursing hours of care

    5.5 and higher hours per day primarily registered nurses; 24-hour availability 2 - 3 hours daily, primarily certified nursing assistants

    Nursing skill mix

    Professional registered nurses specializing and certified in rehabilitation nursing

    Non-professional nursing assistants certified in long-term care with licensed practicing nurse and RN supervision

    Complex level of care
    patient and family education
    Basic level of care
    Integration of care

    Coordinated multidisciplinary team directed by physician Several individual disciplines

    Typical length of stay 10 - 35 Days, depending on diagnosis 24 - 60 Days
    Therapy intensity 3 - 5 hours daily 1 - 2 hours daily
    Team meetings

    Coordinated multidisciplinary team meetings lead by physician and includes family Several individual disciplines

    Neuropsychologists Full-time Limited
    Physical therapy & occupational therapy

    Registered physical & occupational therapists
    Physical therapy assistants and 
    certified occupational therapy aids deliver much of the care
    Audiologist, therapeutic recreation, social worker Full-time


    Speech language therapist Full-time



    Joint Commission and Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) None

    Quality improvement

    Quality Assurance/Utilization Review, Program evaluation programs None

    Driver training Full-time None
    Prosthetist/orthotist Full-time Limited