Long-term care is often misunderstood and thought of as services provided in a nursing home facility and only to the elderly needing full time nursing assistance. Though the actual definition of long-term care includes these services, the actual definition covers a broad array of services covering a number of individuals of all ages. The definition of long-term care is a number of services that are provided over a sustained period of time to individuals who are chronically ill or have functional limitations and range from minimal personal assistance to total care.
Long-term care is not limited to care provided within a nursing home facility, the services can be provided in the person’s residence, the community or other types of residential care facilities. (Committee On Improving Quality In Long-Term Care. , Wunderlich, & Kohler, 2001, p. 26) The services people receive in long-term care vary, as services are based upon individual need, economic circumstances, family and individual preference, and geographical location. Each of these aspects is taken into consideration when locating the resources available to individuals in need of long-term care.
Often regulations governing the organized long-term care providers require an individual to transition from one type of service to another, for example an individual receiving care in his or her home can be required to move to a residential or nursing home care facility for insurance purposes. Unfortunately these situations can cause emotional distress on both the individual and the family. In some cases the family may choose to turn to a more informal type of long-term care. (Committee On Improving Quality In Long-Term Care. , Wunderlich, & Kohler, 2001, p.
26) Though many believe that long-term care services are strictly for the elderly, this is not an accurate assumption, as chronic illnesses afflict people of all ages, race and economic status. Though the elderly population makes up a large percentage of those requiring long term care, other populations have emerged that require a number of services. The needs of other populations such as those with chronic conditions such as HIV/AIDS, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other afflictions continue to grow. (World Health Organization (Comp. ), 2007, p.
1) For example, People with disabilities, regardless of age, are being given a place in society through various resources that meet their needs. Long-term care services geared towards these individuals is geared to assist each individual meet their fullest capacity within society, while providing specializes services that provide a safe and secure environment. Other situations include a number of children who possess a disability that requires a number of community based services provided by organized providers that assist the family within the home, community and educational setting. . (World Health Organization (Comp. ), 2007, p.
9) Long-term care consists of two main categories, organized and individual services. The organized services are provided on a formal basis, such as nursing home facilities, home health organizations and some community based services based upon individual need. The individual services are those who provide long-term care services on a paid or unpaid basis and are provided by hired individuals or family members. (Committee On Improving Quality In Long-Term Care. , Wunderlich, & Kohler, 2001, p. 41) The organized providers of long-term care services are divided into three main categories, the first being the Institutional providers.
These providers include nursing homes, rehabilitation hospitals, and intermediate care facilities for those with mental disabilities, as well as long-term psychiatric hospitals and long-term care units of acute care hospitals. These facilities provide specialized care and consist of professionals providing direct healthcare services, such as nurses, nursing assistants and therapist and professionals providing less specialized services such as housekeeping, dietary services and janitorial services. (Committee On Improving Quality In Long-Term Care. , Wunderlich, & Kohler, 2001, p. 41)
The second category of organized providers consists of community-based residential care facilities that provide a wide range of services to people of all ages that require long-term care. These facilities allow people requiring services to live within the community and employ people who are required to supervise and provide assistance in settings that range from apartment living to actual houses that hold multiple individuals in need of care. These long-term care services cover individuals of all ages and often provide support systems that allow those requiring long-term care to remain actively employed within the community.
(Committee On Improving Quality In Long-Term Care. , Wunderlich, & Kohler, 2001, p. 41) The third category of organized providers consists of home and community based services that are nonresidential. These services consist of home health care agencies that provide both medical and nonmedical services within an individual’s home or in congregate residential facilities. Others services provided are adult daycare or night care, protective settings for individuals with various disabilities as well as agencies that provide medical equipment for people living within their own home.
(Committee On Improving Quality In Long-Term Care. , Wunderlich, & Kohler, 2001, p. 26) Individual long-term care services can be provided in both an informal or formal situation. Most long-term care is provided by the informal caregiver and on an unpaid basis. Many relatives, neighbors, friends, volunteers and non-profit organizations provide long-term care services for individuals requiring the extra care. The formal long-term care services are provided by a number of highly trained professionals such as physicians, registered or licensed practical nurses, nursing assistants, therapists and home care aides.
(Committee On Improving Quality In Long-Term Care. , Wunderlich, & Kohler, 2001, p 41) Long-term care was once considered strictly for the elderly and consisted of very limited resources, however over time it has evolved into a broad range of services that cover people of all ages. As society continues to evolve the number of services continues to grow and meet the needs of a number of individuals. No longer is the limited view of this type of care appropriate or correct.