What is Long-Term Care?
When we talk about long-term care, most people think about how to best provide care to those with chronic illness or disability. But long-term care as we know it today includes a wide variety of settings and services which are available to meet people's special needs.
Skilled nursing centers offer care to residents with multiple, chronic health conditions. Some residents may be bed-bound or unable to navigate without assistance. Others may suffer from heart failure or cancer, combined with other disorders like diabetes and/or memory loss.
However, the majority of residents stay for two to three months. For example, someone recovering from surgery who no longer needs to see a doctor every day, but is not quite ready to go home, is often discharged to a nursing home for a short period. A stroke or accident victim can receive skilled nursing care and speech, physical and occupational therapy at a nursing home before returning home or to a lower level of care.
A person who doesn't need 24-hour nursing, but requires assistance with activities of daily living such as dressing and bathing, may choose a residential care facility or a large assisted living community.
Other long-term care options include respite care and adult day health care to ease the burden on family caregivers, special Alzheimer's programs, services for persons with developmental disabilities, mental health care, and home and community based care.