Special resources generally include physical plant features such as a distinct unit (highly recommended by the National Subacute Care Association [NSCA]) and more and better-trained staff, especially physicians and nurses. The exact degree of physician and licensed nurse involvement required is a matter of some debate, particularly since increasing the involvement of highly trained staff increases costs. In addition, subacute care encompasses a set of techniques thought essential to achieving stated goals. These techniques include the use of interdisciplinary teams to plan and provide patient care and case managers, whose jobs involve both resource use monitoring and more traditional care-coordination activities. Care techniques in the ideal also include the use of “care maps” and/or critical pathway protocols, program evaluation based on measure outcomes and an emphasis on continuous quality improvement.
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