Patients With Severe COVID-19 Benefit From Postacute Recovery at Long-term Acute Care Hospitals

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WALLINGFORD, CONNECTICUT, February 10, 2022 — Patients with severe COVID-19 and related complications can benefit from receiving postacute care at long-term acute care hospitals (LTACHs), a new report suggests.

The findings of “Patient Outcomes and Lessons Learned From Treating Patients With Severe COVID-19 at a Long-Term Acute Care Hospital: Single-Center Retrospective Study,” a study conducted by medical and therapy staff at Gaylord Specialty Healthcare, an LTACH in Wallingford, Connecticut, and researchers at the Milne Institute for Healthcare Innovation, were published today in the journal JMIR Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies.

With an average patient length of stay of 25-28 days, LTACHs are certified acute care hospitals equipped
to provide long-term, acute-level care to medically complex patients. LTACHs provide an interdisciplinary
care plan and continued treatment for underlying conditions, and many offer targeted holistic rehabilitation

COVID-19 has resulted in significant morbidity for some patients who will need medical and
rehabilitation care for six months or longer after the initial diagnosis. LTACHs not only can provide
post-acute care and rehabilitation services in the post-COVID phase, but are also uniquely
equipped to provide an alternative to conventional short-term acute care hospitals for patients
with active COVID-19. [Stephen Holland, MD, FAPWCA, ABIM, MPA, chief medical officer at
Gaylord Specialty Healthcare]

The single-center retrospective analysis evaluated the outcomes of 117 medically complex patients
admitted to Gaylord Hospital between March 19 and August 14, 2020, for medical management of
COVID-19 and intensive rehabilitation. These outcomes were compared to those of a reference
population of 157 medically complex patients admitted to Gaylord Hospital 3 months prior, from
December 2019 through February 2020.

Comparing the two populations, the authors observed that the sample of patients with COVID-19 was
significantly younger, had similar proportions of male and female patients, and had an increased
proportion of patients self-reporting as non-White. This sample of patients with COVID-19 was also found
to have a similar length of hospital stay compared to the reference population.

Using mechanical ventilation weaning rate, nutrition status, cognitive-communication status scores, functional independence measure assessments, and gait distance, the authors observed that the reference and COVID-19 populations recovered similarly when provided an LTACH level of interdisciplinary care, continued treatment for underlying conditions, and targeted holistic rehabilitation. Interestingly, when compared to the reference cohort, the COVID-19 cohort showed significant functional improvement in the level of assistance required and distance walked at discharge.

Peter Grevelding, PT, MSPT, NCS, vice president of clinical operations at Gaylord Specialty Healthcare,
executive director at Milne Institute for Healthcare Innovation, noted that the study supports shifting active COVID-19 care from short-term acute care hospitals (STACHs) to LTACHs to decrease STACH census and maximize limited resources during critical stages of the pandemic:

We demonstrated the strategic use of LTACHs earlier in the hospital course to successfully treat and rehabilitate those with severe COVID-19 and alleviate crowded and overwhelmed short-term acute care hospitals.

To read more about the study, please visit

About Gaylord Specialty Healthcare:
Gaylord Specialty Healthcare is a rehabilitation-focused, nonprofit health system headquartered in Wallingford, Connecticut, which provides inpatient and outpatient care for people at every point in their journey from illness or injury to maximum recovery.

Gaylord Specialty Healthcare is anchored by Gaylord Hospital, a long-term acute care hospital, and includes Gaylord Outpatient Services and Gaylord Physical Therapy for patients who require diagnosis and treatment on an outpatient basis. Gaylord’s Milne Institute for Healthcare Innovation is a hub for accelerating world-class rehabilitative research, technology development, and innovation to improve the quality of life and function of people around the world. Together, these entities deliver a complete continuum of rehabilitative care driven by clinical experience, innovation, and human compassion.

Press Contact:  Joy Savulak
Gaylord Specialty Healthcare, Public Relations
203-586-9417 |


Original article

Grevelding P, Hrdlicka HC, Holland S, et al. Patient Outcomes and Lessons Learned From Treating Patients With Severe COVID-19 at a Long-Term Acute Care Hospital: Single-Center Retrospective Study. JMIR Rehabil Assist Technol 2022;9(1):e31502


doi: 10.2196/31502