Healthcare Headlines Blog

Improving Sepsis Outcomes with LTACH Referrals

By Dr. Dean French, MD, CPPS

Discharge decisions may contribute to the significant healthcare challenges associated with sepsis. Though sepsis patients are often discharged to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), recent data demonstrates that referral to long-term acute care hospitals (LTACHs), which provide continued acute care for critically complex patents, can improve outcomes and reduce readmissions.

Understanding the Sepsis Challenge

Sepsis, which has a high mortality rate, has an average length of stay that is 75% greater than other conditions, ranging from 4.5-16.5 days, depending on the severity of the infection.1,2 Sepsis also has the highest number of 30-day all-cause readmissions.3

Sepsis Infographic Graph 1

Improving Outcomes with LTACH Referrals

The long lengths of stay and high readmission rates of sepsis patients may have to do with recovery pathway selections, which have historically favored SNFs.4

However, recent studies comparing SNFs with long-term acute care hospitals show that LTACHs are able to provide better outcomes for sepsis patients.

When comparing post-acute LOS, sepsis patients discharged to SNFs have longer post-acute stays than those discharged to LTACHs, suggesting that the higher-acuity setting helped patients recover more quickly.5

Sepsis Infographic Graph 2

LTACHs also have lower sepsis readmission rates than SNFs, with Kindred Hospitals’ network of long-term acute care hospitals achieving even lower readmission rates than LTACHs in general.6 These data suggest that sepsis patients not only heal more quickly at an LTACH, but also experience a more lasting recovery.

Sepsis Infographic Graph 3

It is important for sepsis patients to continue to receive an acute level of care after the initial hospital stay. At LTACHs, teams of physicians, critical care clinicians, and rehabilitation therapists specialize in treating critically ill patients with complex conditions who require extended recovery times.

LTACHs offer:

- IV antibiotic therapy

- Onsite labs and pharmacies

- CMS-compliant infection prevention standards

Discharging sepsis patients to a setting with this level of acuity in a timely manner can help reduce overall length of stay as well as risk of readmission.


How Kindred Can Help

For over 30 years, Kindred Hospitals has provided high-quality, innovative care to medically complex patients. With a national network of LTACHs holding disease-specific care certification in Sepsis from The Joint Commission, as well as an established treatment protocol, Kindred can play a key role in improving outcomes and reducing readmissions for sepsis patients.


To make a referral call 1.866.KINDRED, option 1. To learn more about how Kindred Hospitals can help improve sepsis outcomes, visit


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By Dr. Dean French, MD, CPPS