What Does Acute Care Include?

Acute care differs from long-term patient care of caring for chronically ill patients.

The main purpose of acute care is to stabilize the patient’s health.

The patients who receive acute care are those in need of active, short-term care after severe injuries with a possible life-threatening outcome.

Acute care includes caring for patients recovering from surgeries or acute exacerbation of chronic conditions and helping patients with routine health issues.

Acute care is performed in several different clinical settings, including Urgent Care clinics, hospitals, and ambulatory clinical facilities.

It includes various aspects of the following areas:

  • Emergency care
  • Urgent care
  • Trauma care
  • Critical care
  •  Intensive care on neonatal and pediatric departments
  • Psychiatric and rehabilitative acute care
  • Acute care surgery

If you enroll in acute care, your responsibilities will be aimed at time-sensitive injuries, fast intervention to prevent negative outcomes.

It also includes maintaining and restoring the optimal health of a patient.

Acute care is highly important, because the patient’s condition may get worse rapidly and without previous signs.

Thus, you have to be prepared to decide quickly and to act in high-stress situations.

Acute care nurses must be able to react quickly with empathy for both patients and their families when facing life-threatening injuries.

When performing any of the acute care duties, a nurse performs all nursing skills.

For example, some patients need quick diagnostic tests, or IV, frequent assessments.

Sometimes, one patient needs CPR while the other is coding.

Therefore, a nurse must remain calm to provide a quick and proper response to the situation.

Prioritization and critical thinking are key when working as an acute care nurse.

When the stable health of the patient is achieved, the acute care nurse is discharged, and other health professionals step in.

If the patient remains unstable, he or she can be transferred to some other facilities or prepared for long-term care in rehabilitation centers. Patients with mental illnesses are also in need of rapid intervention.

These patients are sometimes treated in psychiatric clinics, crisis centers, including emergency rooms.

There is a wide range of disorders in which the patients need acute psychiatric care.

Those can include suicidal intentions, overdose by drug or alcohol, episodes of severe manic or depression, schizophrenia, episodes of hallucinations, etc.

In these situations, acute care nurses must remain calm and authoritative to be able to care for the patients unable to control themself.

Very often, these patients need the nurses to help them maintain their daily activities after severe emergencies.

Acute care in the nursing field offers various difficulty levels and plenty of possibilities to improve skills and gain new knowledge.

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