What to Know Before Turning in a Loved One to a Long-term Care Facility

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As people age, they become prone to various ailments, such as mobility issues, memory loss, dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other limiting factors. Often, these ailments require special care to meet the patient’s unique needs and health requirements. Meanwhile, those families whose loved ones are experiencing an advanced, life-limiting illness rely on hospice care to help the patient live fully and comfortably.

There are different nursing services for seniors and people with underlying illnesses. One of them includes long-term care that targets older adults who can no longer live independently because of aging or health issue. This article will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of long-term care as a form of nursing service. We hope the discussion below will help you decide if long-term care is the best care option for your loved one.

The Advantages of long-term care facilities

Long-term care facilities follow a small-scale model to improve the quality of care from the usual hospitalization of seniors in traditional facilities.

Homey atmosphere

The main difference between large, traditional nursing homes and small, long-term care facilities lies in the organizational structure. In a home-based care market, long-term care services focus on recreating personalized and patient-centric care provided to patients in a home-based environment.

On the other hand, traditional senior care facilities follow a hierarchical and task-centric organization in which caregivers strictly follow a routine based on the required care of the patients. Small, long-term care facilities are managed by self-managed teams, which means patients have a say about their living arrangements, just like being at home, and the staff can effectively provide their needs and preferences.

The main purpose of a small-scale care facility is to provide a better quality of life for its senior residents. The buildings have private rooms, bathrooms, and a cozy living room where seniors can socialize with the staff, visitors, and other residents. They also ensure each room gets sufficient sunlight and has easier access to gardens and outdoor areas.

Residents can schedule their meals, bedtime, and morning call. Instead of being stuck in institutional food, they can enjoy cooked-on and customized meals each day. The aides create menus for lunch and dinner by consulting the seniors first. In the U.S., most long-term care facilities design their building with a small dining table in the middle of the house near the kitchen so residents can watch their meals being prepared.

More aides per resident

checking blood pressure

Most families have specific criteria when choosing the best senior care for their loved ones. These include the safety conditions, security measures, quality healthcare, type of environment, and the staff’s personality. Small, home-based care homes often do better in these areas than larger institutions.

The reason behind is this is they maintain a lower ratio of residents per staff. This means the staff can closely attend to their residents’ needs and notice negative symptoms in advance before they get serious.

Cater to specialized needs

Long-term care facilities work best for patients who require specialized needs in lifestyle choice, diet restrictions, or a cognitive disability (e.g., dementia or Alzheimer’s disease). These facilities have trained staff to handle these needs more effectively than other larger facilities.

Some specialized facilities also welcome minority groups, such as seniors who identify themselves as part of the LGBTQ community.

The Disadvantages of long-term care facilities

Despite the many benefits of long-term care facilities, they have some drawbacks. Here are some of them:

Limited service

Since long-term care facilities function as a small-scale operation, clients and residents should expect there will be fewer options in terms of activities, services, and amenities. Although a resident can reside in an apartment, the institution can only provide limited personal space.

You should also consider your loved one’s future needs since moving to long-term care has a traumatic impact. The nursing staff can help with this by providing comfort and companionship. The problem is, not all of them are trained to handle labor-intensive tasks, such as wound care, medication management, and tube feeding.

Since not all care facilities offer these services, it would be helpful to explore long-term care facilities that help residents move towards assisted living and skilled nursing.

Smaller space

Long-term care facilities help senior residents develop close relationships with staff and other patients. There are relatively fewer choices when looking for care and companionship. Sometimes, a small community isn’t enough to provide variety, especially for those who love to socialize with large groups of people.

Nursing homes vary greatly in terms of amenities, level of care, and services offered. Whatever choice you make can significantly affect the quality of life of your senior loved one. That’s why it’s best to consider other types of senior care arrangements that will cater to their unique needs.

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