There are different types of long–term care. Long–term care refers to a broad range of medical and personal services designed to assist individuals who have lost their ability to function independently. The need for this ongoing care arises when you have a chronic disability or when physical/mental impairments prevent you from performing certain basic activities, such as feeding, bathing, dressing, transferring, and toileting.
3 Levels of Long–Term Care
Some long–term care insurance policies will subsidize only certain forms of long–term care; therefore, it is important to understand the accepted terminology. Long–term care may be divided into three levels:
- Skilled care: Continuous “around-the-clock” care designed to treat a medical condition. This care is ordered by a physician and performed by skilled medical personnel, such as registered nurses or professional therapists. A treatment plan is established.
- Intermediate care: Intermittent nursing and rehabilitative care provided by registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and nurse’s aides under the supervision of a physician.
- Custodial care: Care designed to assist with one’s activities of daily living (such as bathing, eating, and dressing). It can be provided by someone without professional medical skills but is supervised by a physician.
*Please note that the above terms may be defined differently by other sources.
Where is long–term care provided?
Although long–term care can be provided in a number of places, long–term care insurance policies sometimes limit the facilities where you can choose to receive long–term care. Most long–term care is provided at home, but may also be provided by community service organizations and in long–term care facilities.
Some long–term care takes place in nursing homes that provide custodial care primarily, but many can provide skilled care, intermediate care, and custodial care. When a patient no longer needs skilled care, for instance, he or she can be transferred to an intermediate or custodial section within the same facility. Nursing homes provide 24-hour care and can usually offer a great range of care, including intravenous therapy and physical therapy.
Home Health Care
Home health care makes particular sense when you’re recovering from an injury or illness and don’t need 24-hour care. It also makes sense when the type of care you require is custodial. Home health care is most often provided by a visiting nurse, therapist, or home health aide. Often, several visits to your home are made each week to provide you with the appropriate care. Home health care can include a wide range of services, including, but not limited to, respiratory therapy, cleaning and bandaging of wounds, monitoring health, and assistance with bathing and dressing.
Adult Day Care
Adult day-care centers provide care in a group setting for aged or disabled people who live at home, and/or may need help with the basic activities of daily living due to physical or mental impairment. Often, these people live with a relative who works and cannot take care of them during the day. Adult day-care centers usually provide an elderly person with social interaction, therapeutic activities, preventive health services, and nutritional meals.
Hospice care is quality compassionate care for those terminally ill patients nearing their end of life. Hospice can take place in a carefacility that provides comfort and care, or it can be administered in the home.
Respite care provides some time off for the caregiver (usually a relative) who regularly provides care for an elderly or disabled person. It can be offered in a local community center, nursing home or at home through the services of a home health aide.
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