Healthcare Headlines Blog

Maximizing Patient Outcomes Through Acute Rehabilitation Units Within LTACHs

By Sean R. Muldoon, MD, MPH, FCCP, Chief Medical Officer, Kindred Hospitals

Many patients recovering from an illness or injury benefit from comprehensive rehabilitation provided in acute rehabilitation units (ARUs).

An ARU that is located within a long-term acute care hospital (LTACH) provides patients with a broad range of physician-led rehabilitation expertise while limiting disruptions to recovery.

With enhanced capabilities, expertise and clinical integration all under one roof, these units are able to help medically complex patients recover and reach their full potential.

Combining LTACH and ARU services

For patients striving to return to a prior level of function, but who also still require medical management, an ARU may be the most appropriate setting for recovery. ARUs can be the next level of care for patients coming from any setting including home, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), assisted living facilities, or LTACHs.

LTACHs specialize in treating patients who often require longer recovery time due to severe illnesses or complications created by multiple chronic conditions.

ARUs located within an LTACH therefore provide comprehensive, hospital-based, physical rehabilitation programs, specializing in the treatment of those who have experienced a disabling injury or illness.

3 Key benefits of ARUs within LTACHs:

  • Continued specialized care – When patients transition from LTACH services to the ARU, they receive intensive therapy from physical, respiratory, and occupational therapists, under the direction of a physiatrist. Additionally, physicians from the LTACH, including pulmonologists, cardiologists, and nephrologists, who specialize in treating medically complex patients, are available if requested for patient needs.

  • Smooth and efficient transitions – Both patients and care teams benefit from a shared location. Patients are able to transition to a different level of care without leaving the building, decreasing the likelihood of an adverse event related to transportation. Additionally, care teams benefit from reduced administrative burdens that often accompany care transitions.

  • Improved outcomes – Medically complex patients at an ARU within an LTACH receive a high-level of intensity in both treatment and rehabilitation, helping to promote recovery, decrease length of stay, and reduce readmissions.
Types of patients who can benefits from ARU and LTACH Co-Location


Specialized services delivered in LTACHs and inpatient rehabilitation settings also play a pivotal role in treating patients diagnosed with, and recovering from, COVID-19. To optimize patient outcomes, LTACH and ARU care can protect this vulnerable patient population during their recovery through these measures:

  • Health and safety standards – Both LTACHs and ARUs must comply with hospital health and safety requirements set by CMS.1

  • Infection prevention programs – LTACHs, and the ARUs within them, feature infection prevention programs overseen by dedicated Infection Control Nurses.

  • Air quality – LTACHs and ARUs require hospital-quality air filtration, while care settings such as SNFs may have air filtration systems that meet only residential standards.

  • On-site services – Acute rehabilitation at LTACHs, along with on-site laboratories, dialysis, and radiology, reduces the need for outpatient services, meaning that patients have a lower risk of exposure to viruses and bacteria.

About Kindred Hospital ARUs

Kindred Hospital ARUs complement the facility's long-term acute care services for the recovery of patients experiencing the effects of a debilitating injury or illness.

These units include gyms with state-of-the-art equipment used in rehabilitative therapies and feature all private rooms for patients' recovery.

Each patient room provides the amenities one would expect at home, including Wi-Fi, cable television, private bathrooms, and guest recliners. These clean, cozy settings allow patients to get the rest they need before and after rehab therapy sessions.

Kindred Hospital ARUs also offer outdoor areas that allow patients to practice ambulating or meet with family and friends outside.

Kindred Hospitals with ARUs:

Kindred Hospital Bay Area - St. Petersburg
Kindred Hospital Dallas Central

Kindred Hospital Denver
Kindred Hospital Houston Medical Center
Kindred Hospital Houston Northwest
Kindred Hospital Melbourne
Kindred Hospital North Florida
Kindred Hospital Philadelphia - Havertown
Kindred Hospital South Florida - Ft. Lauderdale
Kindred Hospital Sugar Land

If you have a patient in need of care after a hospital stay, call a Kindred Clinical Liaison for a patient assessment. Our experts will help you determine whether an LTACH or ARU stay is appropriate for your patient. If you are unsure of who your Kindred representative is, please reach out to us at


By Sean R. Muldoon, MD, MPH, FCCP, Chief Medical Officer, Kindred Hospitals