Sunday, January 15, 2006

long-term care

The designation long-term care has normally been associated with nursing homes, but today it applies equally to home health care, homemaker services, and even to hospice arrangements. People who require long-term care have chronic illnesses or disabilities that do not require the intensive supervision and levels of care typically provided in hospitals. Their health condition, however, makes them heavily dependent on others for supervision or assistance with activities of daily living. People who require long-term care might have become disabled as the result of a stroke, be victims of Alzheimer's disease, or have been crippled by arthritis. Not all people receiving long-term care are elderly, but the majority are.
Home care services have become an increasingly common part of long-term care because they are presumed to be less costly and they help to maintain independence on the part of the recipient. Skilled levels of nursing may be provided at home for a person who has experienced a bone fracture, a cardiac seizure, or who needs intravenous feeding.
A second level of long-term home care may be simple personal care, and could include such services as assistance with bathing, supervision of medications, physical therapy, or the like. A third level might involve homemaker help only-such as housekeeping, meal preparation, and laundry. Home care services may be found in country areas and small towns as well as cities, and may be provided either by public or private agencies or both. These services are subject to state and federal regulation when paid for by Medicare or Medicaid insurance.
Huttman, E. D. Social Services for the Elderly. New York: The Free Press, 1985.

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