Thanks to a big increase in demand, post-acute care jobs are available like never before across the United States. But what does it mean to work in this field, exactly? Additionally, how can nursing, therapy, and other clinicians land a post-acute care job in the location they prefer? Here’s what you should know.
What is Post-Acute Care?
After being released from the hospital, patients may receive medical care known as post-acute care. This care can involve various services such as rehabilitation, skilled nursing, and other forms of assistance that aid in the patient’s recovery from an injury or illness.
Traditionally, this care took place in hospitals, health centers, and other facilities. However, many insurers are trying to reduce healthcare costs by moving patient care out of the hospital. Therefore, many post-acute care jobs today can take place in long-term care, skilled nursing facilities, and home healthcare, according to the AMRPA.
What Types of Post-Acute Care Jobs are Available?
Looking to break into post-acute care? The future is bright, and career opportunities are expanding! Many healthcare employers offer patients customized treatment programs that cover the spectrum of physical, mental and emotional needs. This includes everything from daily wound care to long-term occupational and speech therapy.
This has led to an increase in post-acute jobs in facilities and home health settings across the country, including:
- Nurses and aides who perform wound care and other clinical services like IV and medication management
- Physical therapists and PTAs who help recovering patients regain mobility, strength and independence
- Occupational therapists and OTAs who help patients get back into the swing of their day-to-day lives
- Speech therapists and SLPs who help patients regain their speech skills, and exercise their ability to read, write or remember
- Social workers to help patients navigate the process of recovery from transition to discharge, and serve as patient advocates to insurance providers
> Interested in a post-acute care nursing job? See all of our available nursing jobs here
What Skills Are Required for Post-Acute Care Jobs?
By definition, post-acute care jobs focus on specific patients for a limited amount of time. One patient’s recovery could take a few weeks, while another’s may take a year. So, providers working in this field should be adaptable to change, and to treating different types of patients throughout the year. The range of conditions include everything from brain injuries and strokes to hip surgery and serious burns.
In addition to supporting patients in challenging conditions, clinicians in this field must also help manage the transition away from the hospital. That’s a big moment for any patient, and it takes skill, compassion and patience to meet their needs during this difficult time. Social workers may not always be available, giving nurses, aides and therapists a bigger share of the transition management.
> Tip: Check out how to overcome compassion fatigue when providing care!
On top of that, post-acute care jobs often require the use of medical devices, increasingly using wireless technology. Although therapists may have the greatest role in coaching patients on the use of necessary equipment, other post-acute care providers will benefit from working to improve their own knowledge and skills with those tools, including any other applicable recovery equipment and software.
“Skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers have less on-site resources than acute care,” writes Holly Harmon, RN, MBA, LNHA for HealthStream’s PX Alert. The lack of “24/7, on-site physician presence” in these facilities means other workers need to step up their decision-making skills, as well as their ability to work independently.
Licensing & Education
Beyond basic licensing and credentialing, specific requirements for post-acute jobs will depend on the hiring facility, type of job and city or state regulations. All nurses, aides and therapists will need to be licensed per their state’s individual rules. Therapists seeking PT, OT or SLP jobs may be required to have a Master’s of Science or Doctorate.
While a year or so of verifiable job experience may be required for some post-acute jobs, we’ve also seen a lot of employers who are willing to hire new graduates, too.
> Looking for a new career in speech-language pathology? Check out our available SLP jobs here
Where Can Healthcare Professionals Find Post-Acute Care Jobs?
If you’re in the market for a new post-acute care job opportunity, you’ve come to the right place! If you’re a nurse, aide, SLP, therapist or social worker who’s looking to land a post-acute job, chances are good that we have an opportunity that meets your needs and preferences, including great travel jobs in every corner of the U.S.A.
See for yourself — browse CareerStaff’s available jobs in LTC/skilled nursing facilities here, and all available home health jobs here. Or, get the ball rolling right now by filling out a quick online application!