Subacute Rehabilitation: New Opportunities and Challenges for Rehabilitation Psychologists

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Changes in the health care delivery system have obliged rehabilitation-service providers to consider alternatives to the traditional model of comprehensive acute inpatient rehabilitation. An option of growing popularity among third-party payers is subacute rehabilitation. This type of rehabilitation is usually provided within a skilled nursing home, provides fewer hours of therapeutic intervention, and uses less professional staff, but may achieve similar outcomes. As subacute rehabilitation has grown, rehabilitation psychologists have been used in these settings, but uncertainties exist as to appropriate roles and reimbursement opportunities. This article provides a framework for understanding the current status of subacute rehabilitation as a part of the rehabilitation continuum of care and how rehabilitation psychologists can maximize their effectiveness in this environment.

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