What is Hospital for Special Care?

Hospital for Special Care (HSC) is one of the 10 largest, free-standing long-term acute care hospitals in the United States and the nation’s only long-term acute-care hospital serving adults and children. HSC is recognized for advanced care and rehabilitation in pulmonary care, acquired brain injury, medically-complex pediatrics, neuromuscular disorders (including ALS research), spinal cord injury, comprehensive heart failure as well as diagnostic, assessment and consulting services for children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Located in New Britain and Hartford, CT, HSC operates inpatient and outpatient facilities serving Southern New England on a not-for-profit basis.

How is Hospital for Special Care different from an acute care or a community hospital?

Hospital for Special Care offers complex care that is not offered in short term acute care or community hospitals. We provide all of the services that a critically ill or injured patient needs after discharge from an acute care hospital. Every hospital in Connecticut, and many beyond, discharge patients to Hospital for Special Care for complex and rehabilitative care. Our average length of stay is three months, compared with five days for most acute care hospitalizations.

What types of health issues bring patients to Hospital for Special Care?

Patients come to us with a myriad of difficult conditions, from serious injury to chronic or congenital diseases that impact overall quality of life. One area of significant growth is our neuromuscular service treating diseases such as Muscular Dystrophy and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Complex pulmonary care is the second largest pulmonary program in the U.S. and features the clinical expertise to liberate very difficult ventilator patients from respirators. About 70 percent of our ventilator patients learn to breathe again on their own compared to just over 50 percent nationwide. Our brain injury program serves patients in all stages of brain injury and recovery, providing medical and neurobehavioral interventions.

Our outpatient physical, occupational and speech therapy programs serve hundreds of adults and children each year. The HSC Aquatic Rehabilitation and Fitness Center, a 27,000 square-foot facility and the largest of its kind associated with a rehabilitation hospital in New England, provides warm water physical therapy for patients recovering from injury or coping with long-term illness or disability. We also operate New England’s only therapeutic horseback riding program affiliated with a hospital, Manes & Motions Therapeutic Riding Center, Inc.

Lastly, our pediatric unit cares for medically complex young babies with underdeveloped lungs or congenital conditions that require respirator care for the first few years of life. At one time these babies and children lived at the hospital for many years; advances in technology have now allowed them to build strength and lung capacity to lead active lives outside the hospital after infancy.

How long do patients stay at Hospital for Special Care?

The vast majority of patients who come to Hospital for Special Care with complex rehabilitation and related medical challenges are able to be cared for on an outpatient basis. For those who require rehabilitative hospitalization, our average length of stay is 90 days, much shorter than even a few years ago. Tripling the size of our Outpatient Center, from approximately 4,000 square feet to over 20,000, will enable us to treat even more patients more effectively on an ambulatory basis.

What is Hospital for Special Care’s service area?

Our immediate patient area covers Greater Hartford, New Haven and Middlesex Counties in Connecticut. However, our adult and pediatric patients come from all over New England, as well as across the U.S.

Are you affiliated with other hospitals?

Hospital for Special Care was founded in 1941 and remains a private, not-for-profit hospital with its own Board of Directors. It is the only medically complex rehabilitation and chronic care hospital in the U.S. serving both adults and children across a broad spectrum of care. The hospital enjoys clinical, teaching and research affiliations with numerous institutions, including the University of Connecticut Medical Center, Dartmouth and Yale.

What makes Hospital for Special Care unique among healthcare institutions?

Hospital for Special Care actively involves patients in their journey to recovery. The Hospital was founded with the mission to be responsive to the changing needs of the communities it serves and to an ever changing healthcare environment. Hospital for Special Care serves patients by creating innovative, fiscally-sound, cost-effective systems of care in multiple fields of healthcare. HSC further supports the practice of rehabilitation and complex care through research and education.

Above all, for nearly 70 years, Hospital for Special Care leadership has made decisions true to its mission of being responsive and accountable to its patients and their communities. The expansion of our Outpatient Center enables us to continue to meet its mission by establishing a comprehensive “medical home” model of care for patients. The “medical home” focuses on optimum coordination of care among primary and specialist physicians and ancillary caregivers to achieve highly cost-effective care, as well as enhanced quality of life for our patients.

What role does research play at Hospital for Special Care?

Clinical trials provide cutting edge pharmacology and other advanced treatment approaches for participants, as well as critical research in the search for a cure for diseases such as ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). The current expansion enables the Hospital to establish the only clinical trials research center for neuromuscular disease between Boston and New York.

What is the vision for Hospital for Special Care?

Hospital for Special Care's vision is centered on seven areas of specialization:

  • Pulmonary Care
  • Acquired-Brain Injury Care
  • Complex Pediatric Care
  • Neuromuscular Care
  • Spinal Cord Care
  • Cardiac Care
  • Diagnostic, assessment and consulting for children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Hospital for Special Care is dedicated to maintaining its role as a highly respected, long-term acute care hospital. Patient outcomes at Hospital for Special Care are second to none in terms of quality of care and quality of life.

What is needed to reach this vision and these goals?

We are now at a pivotal point in our evolution, well positioned to serve more patients on an expanded outpatient basis. As such, Hospital for Special Care will: Triple the size of its Outpatient Center to include expanded space for neuromuscular, neurobehavioral, spinal cord and pulmonary care. Include space in the new Outpatient Center for extensive clinical research trials. Provide state-of-the-art equipment in the new Outpatient Center, including devices for enhanced physical and communicative therapies and pulmonary, spinal and brain injury care in an easy-access ambulatory setting.

How much will the expansion cost and how is it being funded?

The total cost of the expansion project is $5.9 million, including renovations, new construction and equipment.

What is the Hospital for Special Care Foundation?

The Foundation is the fundraising arm of the Hospital. It has a volunteer Board of Directors and a fundraising staff whose role is to assist with gift planning, solicitation and stewardship. The Foundation is a tax-exempt 503 (c) (3) organization.

Why does Hospital for Special Care seek philanthropic support from the community?

Hospital for Special Care is a not-for-profit charitable organization, governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. With increasing healthcare costs, including the need to remain current with medical technology, the Hospital must reach beyond annual operating revenues and investment income to fund the cost of major capital renovations. Investment by our charitable donors is critical for making exemplary care accessible to current and prospective patients.