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Insights and Trends

Medically Complex Patients: Preparing Your Clinical Staff

As hospital-based rehabilitation programs have worked to treat the growing medically complex patient population, providers now have to take into account the additional influx caused by COVID-19.

This raises the question: What can be done to care for the current and future medically complex patient population, especially in a hospital rehab setting?

With the increase of medically complex patients, including those recovering from COVID-19, clinical staffing models needs to be enhanced.

Positions that are particularly important for treating medically complex patients include:

  • Rehabilitation-Experienced Nurses: Rehabilitation-experienced nurses are trained to help patients with disabilities and chronic illnesses achieve maximal functional improvements – translating to faster recovery for patients through more efficient programs. Additionally, individuals discharged after experiencing severe cases of COVID-19 significantly benefit from multi-disciplinary inpatient rehabilitation.1
  • Speech-Language Pathologists: Speech-language pathologists play an important role in helping patients reach optimal functionality. For instance, receiving speech therapy early in the rehabilitation process is most effective at treating aphasia, which is present in up to 38% of stroke patients.2
  • Clinical Liaisons and Certifications: Highly-trained clinical liaisons are needed to help achieve optimal timing of rehabilitation entry. CARF and Joint Commission certifications improve the comprehensiveness of patient treatment and the range of patients a program may treat, as well as support improved program performance. On average, CARF-accredited programs experience a 26% increase in patients served annually.3
  • Infection Control Specialists: Having a dedicated infection control specialist or team to help obtain standards such as certifications set forth by federal programs and agencies, appropriate staffing, employee protection, patient safety and clinical expertise, enable a hospital to admit and discharge patients in a safe and healthy care environment.

By ensuring a hospital’s clinical staff is properly trained, educated and prepared for the rapidly increasing medically complex patient population, facilities can continue to improve patient outcomes.

Read our latest whitepaper “Rise of Medically Complex Patients: Prepare Your Rehabilitation Program” to learn more about how to optimize your program to meet the growing demand.


  1. Reading, D. (2021, January 16). Beneficial effects of multi-disciplinary rehabilitation in post-acute COVID-19 - an observational cohort study. Retrieved January 18, 2021, from
  2. Getting started in acute care hospitals. Retrieved February 08, 2021, from
  3. Amanda Dragga. The Role of Speech-Language Pathologists in Stroke Rehabilitation. Neurorehabilitation. Rhode Island Medical Journal. Dec 2015.