When many people hear the term “long-term care facility”, they automatically think “nursing home”. But while nursing homes are certainly one type of long-term care facility, there are a variety of other options that come under the umbrella of long-term care.
A long-term care facility is one that provides medical and/or non-medical care and assistance to people suffering from a chronic illness or injury. A person who has had a serious accident and needs intensive rehabilitation after a hospital stay for example, is likely to use the services of a long-term care facility.
On the other end of the spectrum, an elderly person suffering from Alzheimer’s will also need long-term care, but in a different type of facility.
The first step in finding an appropriate facility is to figure out what type you’ll need. There are three main varieties of long-term care facility:
- Skilled Nursing Facilities. These may or may not be associated with a hospital, but they are generally designed to provide extended recovery time to those who need it. At a skilled nursing facility, patients receive intensive care by trained nurses. A stay in a skilled nursing facility can typically range from a few days to several months.
- Intermediate Care Facilities. This type of facility can also provide long-term rehabilitation, but not the type of intensive medical care that a skilled nursing facility requires.
- Custodial Care Facilities. Nursing homes fall under the “custodial care facility” category. Residents generally move into a custodial care facility for very long, or permanent, stays. At this type of facility, there’s medical assistance available, but it isn’t the focus of care. The focus is on assisting residents with their personal care needs, and often, on creating a community for residents to belong to.
When you’re choosing a long-term care facility, a good starting point is to get recommendations from friends, family members, clergy, or other people you know who have had experience with the type of facility you’re looking for. It’s also essential to go and visit the facility, talk to the staff, and pay close attention to how it is operated.
Taking the time now to investigate all your options before committing a loved one to a long-term care facility ensures that your family member will get the best care possible.