Subacute care, like our health care system generally, is designed primarily to meet the needs of the adult patient. Emphasis on the adult patient, however, ignores the children who could be appropriately and cost-effectively treated at a subacute level of care. These children offer the most persuasive argument yet for broadening our perspective on subacute care beyond the adult model, but to do so means considering the special needs of children, particularly in the areas of family-centered and age-appropriate care. In this article, we draw upon experience at 2 pediatric subacute care facilities to (1) identify specific treatment programs for children; (2) identify essential features of program delivery; (3) discuss how the typical adult-centered model needs to be modified for children; and (4) offer amendments that make the current adult-centered definitions of subacute care more responsive to children's needs.
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