When most people think of long-term care, they think of someone in the golden years of their life, but an illness or accident can strike anyone of any age and make this a necessary part of their life. It isn't easy for many people to admit they need help with their every day living, but for some, the simple task of eating becomes a chore.
Another misconception is that long-term care means a stay in a nursing home or rehabilitation center, but this is not always the case. With the portability of medical equipment today, it is often preferred that patients remain in their own home if possible. Insurance companies prefer to pay for full-time home care instead of nursing home care, feeling that it is more cost effective and beneficial to the patient's well being.
Long-term care doesn't even need to mean that the patient cannot do for himself or herself. It can mean simply a patient who has an ongoing condition that requires the services of a health care professional on a routine basis for things the patient is no longer able to do for him or herself. This can mean preparing and planning meals, care of personal hygiene, dressing, household chores including shopping and paperwork, and any medical needs.
In addition to in-home and nursing home facilities, another type of long-term care facility is called assisted living. In this setting, the patient has his or her own apartment or quarters where the patient lives and tends to their needs as much as possible. However, the patient is close enough to the nursing home facility that someone is readily available to assist the patient whenever needed, thus the term, “assisted living. " This allows the patient some type of independence while giving them the assistance they need as well. Many people who become dependent on others feel like they are a burden, but with assisted living, help is there if it's needed, and the patient is able to do the things for himself that he is able to do.
Fortunately, the term long-term care has lost the stigma it used to have for patients, and they are now more receptive to accepting help when it is needed. This is likely due to the introduction of both the assisted living and the in-home nursing care that allows a patient to remain in the comfort of his home as long as possible. Even twenty years ago this was a “baby" to the medical field, but with the insurance companies pushing for less hospital time, and the patients wanting to hurry home from the hospital to tend to other family members, it has become commonplace. As the generation of middle-aged citizens enters their senior years, this practice will likely become more common. Long-term care is changing its face every day.
Sandy Sizemore writes on many consumer related topics including health care. You can find out what is long term care and learn about the cost of nursing homes and more by visiting our health care website.