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Variety of Care Options Available to Fit Needs, Changing Circumstances
it comes to meeting the needs of a family member or loved one, there
are many types of care available. Care needs can change, so it’s
helpful to familiarize yourself with various short-, mid- and long-term
options. Here are a few general categories:
As the name suggests, in-home care takes place at home. It may be care provided
by loved ones, family, friends, neighbors or professional caregivers. In-home
care typically includes assistance with day-to-day tasks such as bathing, walking
or cooking. If care needs are more extensive or medically intensive, in-home
care may not be able to meet them. Area hospitals, care agencies or therapists
may offer training sessions to help caregivers learn how to provide quality care
and avoid caregiver stress.
Adult Day Care
Adult day care or “adult day service” offers part- or full-time care
in a group setting. Adult day care is an appropriate choice for those who are
unable to stay at home alone, even for short periods. Adult day care offers supervised
care within a safe and secure environment. It may be community- or facility-based.
Services typically include meals, social or recreational activities, and health-related
Respite care is a short term relief program that gives caregivers a break. In
respite care, a skilled care professional assumes caregiver responsibilities
for a predetermined amount of time. Respite care may range from a few hours to
a few weeks. It helps caregivers reenergize, reduce stress and address personal
needs that may have become neglected because of care responsibilities. Respite
care can take place at home or at a center, such as an adult day care center
or Skilled Nursing Care center.
Assisted Living Care
Assisted living care facilities, sometimes called “residential care centers,” offer
a home-like setting, plus varying levels of supervision and personal or medical
care. Assisted living is appropriate for individuals who are no longer able to
live alone, but who do not require extensive care.
Assisted living facilities vary greatly in how many residents can live there
and can range from a private room or an apartment to a multi-unit facility. In
general, they promote self-sufficiency and are designed to offer residents a
high level of independence. Service options, like accommodations, vary widely,
especially from state to state. Care can include assistance with daily tasks,
such as bathing, dressing or help with medications. Facilities might offer social
activities or meal, laundry or housekeeping services.
Skilled Nursing Care
Nursing homes, professionally called Skilled Nursing Care centers, offer 24-hour
staffing to provide comprehensive services to those requiring a greater level
of care than that offered by assisted living facilities. All Skilled Nursing
Care centers require the professional skills of a registered nurse (RN) or licensed
practical nurse (LPN). With 24-hour nursing care and many of the comforts of
home, Skilled Nursing Care centers balance quality care and quality of life.
These centers promote autonomy and choice, and offer a variety of services, social
activities, and recreational opportunities. Residents are encouraged to continue
social activities and personal interests.
Today's Skilled Nursing Care centers offer services ranging from short-term rehabilitative
care to long term extended care. Services can be grouped into three general care
categories: medical, nursing and rehabilitative, and personal.
Medical care in a Skilled Nursing Care center may be one-to-one (attending physician)
or one-to-many (medical director). These physicians oversee medications, examinations
and treatments. They work with staff, residents and families to develop care
Nursing and Rehabilitative Care
Nursing services include assessment, treatments, injections, and administration
of medications. Rehabilitative care services might include post-hospital stroke,
heart or orthopedic care, or various types of therapy, e.g. respiratory, physical,
occupational or speech therapy.
Personal care offers assistance with “activities of daily living.” These
daily tasks can include help getting out of bed, bathing, using the toilet, dressing,
walking or eating.
Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) provide much of this care.
Rehabilitative services assist patients recovering from illness, injury or disease.
Rehabilitative treatments help patients regain abilities recently lost. Services
might include post-hospital stroke, heart or orthopedic care, or various types
of therapy (e.g., physical, occupational or speech therapy). Dietary consultation,
laboratory, x-ray and pharmaceutical services may also be included in rehabilitative
Dementia is the general term used to describe a set of symptoms that affect intellectual
and social abilities, such as memory, problem solving and communication. Alzheimer’s
is the most common form of dementia. Each person’s symptoms and progression
differ. Consequently, there are many treatments and care options available for
people diagnosed with dementia.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers support programs for veterans
and their caregivers. The VA provides support and services for those who care
for veterans, as well as short-stay and long-stay nursing home care. Learn more
about Health Programs for Veterans.
Hospice care offers comfort and support to those nearing the end of life. Hospice
is a care philosophy focused on reducing suffering rather than curing a condition.
Hospice addresses physical, spiritual, social and emotional needs of dying individuals
and loved ones. Hospice care can include pain medication, therapy or counseling.
Reprinted with permission from American Health Care Association, http://Careconversations.org.
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