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Buffalo General Medical Center
B Building, 5th Floor
100 High Street
Buffalo, NY 14203

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Rehabilitation Medicine - Acute Medical Rehabilitation
Acute Medical Rehabilitation Unit (MRU) vs. Sub-Acute Rehabilitation

Make the Right Choice

Selecting the right rehabilitation program after you experience a debilitating neurological injury or illness or other debilitating medical or surgical condition is critical to your recovery. You want to select a program that will give you the best possible care and one that will help you maximize your ability to return to independent functional living. Choosing the rehabilitation program that is right for you is essential.

Kaleida Health Acute Medical Rehabilitation Units (MRUs) have one of the highest success rates for improving the functional independence of patients after neurological injury or illness, particularly stroke. The percentage of patients with neurological conditions on the Kaleida MRUs is twice that of other regional or national programs. This high level of experience has resulted in our ability to successfully discharge more patients back to their home than the regional and national averages.

Acute Medical Rehabilitation Unit (MRU) vs. Subacute Rehabilitation

As you look into options for your rehabilitative care, you should determine whether or not the facilities you are considering offer “acute medical” rehabilitation or “sub-acute” rehabilitation. They are not the same thing.


  • Acute medical rehabilitation programs are located in a hospital
  • An MRU is under the direction of a physiatrist (a physician specializing in rehabilitation care) who assesses and monitors your medical and rehab status daily. The physiatrist also provides direction to the team of rehabilitation professionals caring for you.
  • Acute medical rehabilitation programs provide around-the-clock rehabilitative nursing, and you will participate in intensive rehabilitation therapy (physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology) up to three hours each day, six days per week.

Subacute Rehab

  • Sub-acute rehabilitation programs are located in nursing homes
  • Physician contact generally occurs one or two times per week, and physician oversight is often not by a physician with specialty training in physiatry.
  • Sub-acute rehabilitation is less intense and less comprehensive than acute rehabilitation.

*Note: The physician services at the Subacute Rehabilitation Unit at DeGraff Memorial Hospital are provided by physiatrists (physicians who specialize in rehabilitation).

Patients who are appropriate for an MRU must be able to actively participate in three hours of restorative rehabilitation per day and have the potential for discharge to home usually within two-four weeks following admission. After discussing your needs with your physicians and caregivers, the Kaleida Health case manager/screener will assist you in determining which level of care is most appropriate for you.

There may be a facility that offers rehabilitation services closer to your home, but we encourage you to consider the benefits of continuing your rehabilitation at a Kaleida Health MRU where more patients are discharged to home than regional and national averages.