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The difference between sub-acute & home-based care

There are several factors to take into account while choosing a healthcare facility for yourself or a loved one. It might be challenging to determine your alternatives and whether the care being offered is appropriate for your needs.


Your doctor might have suggested a sub-acute (step-down) facility, or offered you the option of receiving healthcare at home.


In this post, we will examine the differences between sub-acute and home care to assist you making an informed decision as you recover from a serious illness, surgery, or injury.

What is home-based care?

Home-based care is a broad term that refers to the provision of health and social services in the home of a person that requires medical attention or an elderly person who may be functionally or cognitively impaired. This type of care is suitable for patients who do not require intensive medical care or rehabilitation.


Home-based care is ideal for individuals who are mostly mobile and independent, seeing that they won’t be receiving 24/7 attention, but require assistance with daily tasks which ranges from bathing, dressing, medication administration, and so on.


Home-based care can be provided by family members, non-professional caregivers, or professional caregivers such as nurses, personal care assistants, homemakers, and home health aides. It is also usually a long-term arrangement.










  • Will you be able to afford a professional home-based care service?

  • Will a family member/friend be available to help care for the individual?

  • Is the home setting suitable or equipped for the individual’s recovery needs?

  • How private are you with regards to allowing professionals into your home?

  • Does the care professional have a good relationship with the individual’s primary care provider in order to understand their condition fully?

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What is sub-acute care?

Sub-acute care is a specialised, integrated and holistic service that caters for individuals that need long or short-term, intensive medical care and rehabilitation due to serious illness, injury, surgery or disease.


It involves 24/7 care from skilled professionals like nurses, doctors, and therapists in a focused, smaller, and home-like setting. Sub-acute care can be interpreted as the bridge between being discharged from an acute setting like a hospital before the patient can return home.  Sub-acute care is the ideal choice for individuals who are stable enough to be discharged from the hospital, but not well enough to return home.


Sub-acute care is, in most cases, covered by your medical aid.


Sub-acute care is right for individuals who require:


  • IV Therapy

  • Tube Feedings

  • Strictly monitored quality of care

  • Structured rehabilitation programme

  • Complex health needs which require ongoing medical treatment

  • Short-and long-term frail care services

Choose the type of care that aligns with your healthcare needs

The above comparison between home-based care and sub-acute care reveals significant distinctions between the two settings, as well as other considerations, such as:


  • Budget

  • Time

  • Availability

  • Skills

  • Intensity of condition

  • Short or long-term care needs


The location and method of care for you or a loved one should be determined by what is best suited to the current situation. The considerations outlined above should help to guide your decision; however, it is also recommended that you consult a medical practitioner for guidance.


For more information about our sub-acute facilities, please CLICK HERE to get in touch with our team of experts.

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