Domains of subacute care

There are 4 main domains of subacute care:

  • rehabilitation
  • geriatric evaluation and management
  • palliative care
  • psychogeriatric care.

Female health professional showing examples of healthy foods to an older male patient.

Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation is care that aims to improve a person’s functional status, independence and quality of life where they have impairment or a functional limitation. It is usually associated with a health condition.

Rehabilitation involves:

  • developing a multidisciplinary management plan
  • setting individualised functional goals to be achieved within reasonable timeframes
  • measuring improvement, through use of functional assessment tools.

Rehabilitation can occur in both admitted and/ or non-admitted settings in:

  • hospitals
  • day therapy units
  • the community
  • your own home
  • specialist rehabilitation services.

Geriatric evaluation and management

Geriatric evaluation and management (GEM) is care aimed at optimising the function and independence of people with complex conditions associated with ageing. GEM focuses on managing their multi-dimensional needs.

Comprehensive evaluation and multi-disciplinary management is usually overseen by a geriatrician.

GEM occurs in both admitted and non-admitted settings. For example an older person:

  • presenting to hospital with an acute medical issue as well as underlying co-morbidities may be fast-tracked into a GEM unit or bed for evaluation and management to prevent deterioration and optimise functional outcome
  • may visit a day therapy unit for review, treatment and management of their conditions by a geriatrician and multidisciplinary team.

GEM units operate in:

Some GEM beds are located on aged care and rehabilitation wards at:

Palliative care

Palliative care focuses primarily on optimising the quality of life for people with active, progressive and advanced life-limiting illnesses.

This level of care manages and supports the physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual needs of the person, including providing grief and bereavement support for carers and/or family.

Psychogeriatric care

Psychogeriatric care focuses on improving the health, function, behaviour and quality of life of people with age-related organic brain impairment and significant associated behavioural or psychiatric disturbance.

Psychogeriatric care is provided in hospital inpatient and outpatient settings as well as in the community.

In the metropolitan area, psychogeriatric care can be accessed through the following Older Adult Mental Health Services (OAMHS):

There are designated psychogeriatric beds at Rockingham, Bentley, Fremantle, Armadale, Osborne Park and Mercy hospitals as well as at the Selby Centre and Swan Elderly Mental Health Service 

In regional areas, the following psychogeriatric services exist:

  • in the South West region, a psychogeriatrician and OAMHS are co-located with the Geriatrician and Aged Care Services at Bunbury Hospital (South West Health Campus)
  • a visiting psychogeriatrician service is available to all regions in Western Australia – the visiting consultant works with local services, including aged care, mental health and primary care to provide assessment, consultation and liaison as well as education and support for health care professionals
  • the visiting service is also supported locally by OAMH professionals who provide community based assessment and treatment, coordination of admission and discharge from specialist OAMH inpatient facilities where required, and support to families and carers.

More information

Aged and Continuing Care Directorate

Produced by

Subacute, Community and Aged Care Directorate