Handbook for Mortals : A guide to settings and services : Long-term care

Long-term care describes a type of care, rather than an actual place. Long-term care is the range of health, personal care, social, and housing services provided to people who are unable to care for themselves independently as a result of chronic illness or mental or physical disability. Not all individuals will require the highly skilled, intensive care that some nursing homes provide. Many can remain fairly independent and may only need assistance with a few activities of daily living. These activities could include a range of things such as help to bathe, help getting in and out of bed, or other daily functions such as grocery shopping, housekeeping, and balancing a checkbook. Some may prefer to remain in their home and receive services there. With the advances made in technology, this is becoming more available, even to individuals who may require intravenous or nutritional therapies. Your care manager or local Offices on Aging can help answer any other questions that you might have about the different kinds of facilities and services in your area.

Long-term care services can be as basic as assistance for daily living activities, or as complex as skilled therapeutic care for the treatment and management of chronic conditions. Like hospice services, long-term care can be provided in a variety of settings, such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or a patientís own home. Finding the services that fit your needs can be difficult. Information will be your best tool. Start with asking your doctor. Although many doctors donít really have much experience working with nursing homes and home care, they at least know the organization's reputation. Doctors can also help work out a description of what services you probably need now and in the near future.

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Handbook for Mortals book cover Copyright © 1999, 2006 by Joanne Lynn. This extract from the Handbook for Mortals by Joanne Lynn, M.D. and Joan Harrold, M.D. is used with permission. To learn more about improving care at the end of life visit the main web site for Americans for Better Care of the Dying.
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