Chronic care, also referred to as long-term healthcare, involves numerous services that center on offering help to individuals with illnesses or disabilities of a chronic nature. A patient may only need mild assistance, or the person may be entirely incapacitated. Individuals of all ages can be affected by such handicaps, but many who need help of this type are elderly.
Experts predict that approximately 12 million Americans will need long-term assistance by the year 2014. This is why if it appears that a person will need such help in the future, advance planning is vital. Discussing such eventualities with loved ones is always a good idea for any person, particularly those who are elderly. This way, if the individual becomes incapacitated or disabled, his or her wishes can be carried out by family members.
Services of this kind can be acquired even if the person is still residing at home. Volunteers, employees from home healthcare agencies, or a combination of both alternatives can often be utilized in order to allow the person to maintain his or her independence for longer period of time than if no assistance was given. In other cases, a long-term care facility is the only realistic option.
Those who have illnesses or disabilities that make it impossible for them to remain at home may he enrolled in adult day care. The latter is a service for those who needs supervision, but can return home when other adults are present to offer assistance if it is needed. Such facilities typically take only a limited number of individuals, so that each person has proper supervision during the time they are at the establishment.
Residential facilities or group dwellings are additional alternatives one may wish to consider when living independently is no longer an option. At such establishments, residents are generally given assistance with their daily living activities. Additionally, if the staff includes a qualified nurse, help with medications is also available. 24-hour employees are present at such facilities, so that each resident has the assistance he or she needs.
Assisted living facilities are somewhat similar to the aforementioned option. They provide personal assistance around the clock as well, but it is also offered on a limited basis. Residents must be mobile in order to be admitted into an assisted living establishment.
Skilled nursing facilities are the best choice for those who cannot live safely in one of the aforementioned communities. Also called nursing homes, such establishments offer a wide range of health services including medical treatment and the administration of medication. Registered nurses are typically on staff at all times, and residents are also offered recreational activities if they are able to participate.
There is a vast array of options in most cases regarding how to pay for such services. For example, a basic medical insurance policy may cover a certain percentage of long-term services. The patient may also qualify for Medicare if he or she has passed a certain age. In some instances, the patient’s family pays for such services privately. Anyone who needs chronic care should refrain from making a final decision until all his or her options have been reviewed.
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