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Inpatient care is one type of medical care a person can receive. In this article, we’ll define the term “inpatient care” and explain how it relates to nursing home abuse.

Key Takeaways

  • Inpatient care is care provided in a hospital or other inpatient facility 
  • Examples of inpatient care include treatment for serious illnesses, chronic diseases, traumatic injuries, and more
  • Outpatient care is any kind of care for which a patient does not need to stay in the hospital
  • Examples of outpatient care include minor surgeries, mammograms, lab tests, and more
  • Inpatient care is paid for by Medicare Part A. Outpatient care is paid for by Medicare Part B.
  • Inpatients in facilities such as nursing homes should be aware of the risk of abuse from care providers 

What Is Inpatient Care?

Inpatient care is care provided in a hospital or other inpatient facility to which a patient is admitted to spend one or more nights. Inpatients are under the round-the-clock care of a team of healthcare professionals. In addition to inpatient care for surgery, illness, injury, or childbirth, there are also inpatient facilities for mental health illnesses and substance abuse. 

Inpatient care may be planned ahead of time as a result of an emergency or unplanned illness or injury. Depending on what they are being treated for, patients may be admitted to a particular service such as neurology or oncology.

Patients are discharged from the facility once a doctor decides they no longer require inpatient care, often with instructions to follow up with doctors, take prescribed medications, and/or receive outpatient services.

Examples of inpatient care include treatment for:

  • Serious mental health issues
  • Substance use disorder and overdoses
  • Chronic diseases
  • Serious illnesses such as flu, stroke, heart attack
  • Severe burns
  • Some cosmetic procedures
  • Traumatic injury

What Is Outpatient Care?

In contrast, outpatient care is any kind of care for which the patient does not have to stay in the hospital. It can be provided in a hospital or other location, such as a walk-in clinic, doctor’s office, or outpatient surgery center.

Outpatient care varies greatly, including things like:

  • Same-day emergent care
  • X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and other types of imaging
  • Chemotherapy or radiation treatment
  • Consultations or follow-ups with a specialist
  • Routine physical exams
  • Minor surgeries
  • Mammograms
  • Colonoscopies
  • Lab tests, such as bloodwork

Medicare Coverage of Inpatient Care

For Original Medicare beneficiaries, coverage of inpatient and outpatient care differs. Inpatient care is paid for by Medicare Part A. Outpatient care is paid for by Medicare Part B. In order for Medicare to pay for a stay in a skilled nursing facility, the patient must first have had a three-night inpatient stay in the hospital.

In-Patient Care and Nursing Home Abuse

One type of in-patient care is a nursing home, a residential facility for disabled or elderly people. Nursing homes provide healthcare and other services for their patients. While nursing homes can be a great option for patients who need round-the-clock care to live a full, healthy life, they also place residents in a vulnerable position of dependence on caretakers. As such, nursing home patients are at risk of nursing home abuse. 

It’s important for nursing home residents and their loved ones to be aware of the risk of nursing home abuse. If you or somebody you care about have been a victim of nursing home abuse, please contact the relevant authorities. You may also want to speak to a nursing home abuse attorney to learn about the possibility of receiving compensation for your suffering.

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