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Acute Care

What is acute care?

Acute care is an active, short-term treatment for an episode of illness or severe injury. Symptoms of acute illnesses usually emerge suddenly, but the recovery period is also typically brief.

Some examples of acute care include:

  • Trauma care
  • Emergency medicine
  • Acute care surgery
  • Pre-hospital emergency care
  • Urgent care
  • Critical care
  • Short-term inpatient stabilization

While chronic care is typically provided in a patient’s home or assisted living facility, acute care is generally provided in hospitals and emergency departments.

Why is acute care important in healthcare?

When it comes to treating sudden and serious illnesses, acute care is essential.

The conditions that require acute care are often severe and require immediate attention. Sometimes, just a few minutes can be the difference between a complete recovery or a lasting disability. Because of this, acute care is essential for preventing disability or death, especially within the first 24 hours of the illness.

The main goal of acute care is to address life-threatening issues and stabilize the patient. Once this is achieved, the goal then shifts to preventing physical and cognitive complications while improving functional status.