August 9, 2010
The Continuum of Long-Term Health Care
Health care is a fascinating industry. So many types of care are included within the industry. Health care can be very broad or very specific. Health care is also comprised of different types of health care. One specific sector is long-term health care. Long-term care plays a huge role in the health care continuum. This paper will define long-term care and a continuum as well as discuss the services provided and how these services fit in the continuum of care, the resources that go along with long-term care and how it contributes to overall health care resources, and how long-term care services will be impacted in the future. Long-term health care tends to many types of people. “Long-term care (LTC) typically refers to settings in which individuals reside for ongoing care. Long-term care also refers to health care needs or supervision that an individual may require for undetermined time, or even lifelong” (Long-Term Care, para. 1). Long-term care is not specific to a certain age group, and long-term care can be given in various settings. “Long-term care can be acquired in one’s home or more typically in sheltered care or independence-supporting settings described continuing care retirement communities” (Long-Term Care, para. 1). To make sure long-term care is provided at the optimum level, it must be a part of a continuum of health care. “A continuum of aging services is a comprehensive and integrated network of services that guides and tracks patients/clients over time and includes acute, transitional, long-term, and preventative care” (Clapp, 1993, General Definition, para. 1). A continuum in the long-term care field will help ensure quality care because more resources are involved to make sure the patient is being taken care of properly. “An integrated continuum requires active collaboration among local providers in two general groups. The first includes hospitals, nursing homes, retirement communities, physicians, and home health services” (Clapp, 1993, General Definition, para. 1). According to Clapp, even though the typical “continuum” is incomplete, not all pieces have to be a part of the continuum to serve the patients and their families (Clapp, 1993, General Definition, para. 2). “What is critical to understand is that linking with other community services to provide a continuum which benefits patients, payers and providers will be the design of the future” (Clapp, 1993, General Definition, para. 2). “Collaboration is what holds a successfully implemented continuum together” (Clapp, 1993, General Definition, para. 4). By connecting different aspects of the continuum through the services provided, long-term care can be beneficial to its patients. Many services are provided through long-term care. “Long-term health care includes many different types of services, not just institutional care provided in a nursing home or a hospital when a person has a mental or physical disability. In short, it includes a variety of services to maintain healthy living and quality of life, such as shelter, transportation, housekeeping services, therapeutic services, home health nursing care, and nutritional and social support programs” (Hussain, 2009, p. 72-73). These services help patients in a number of ways. For example, the transportation aspect allows patients to get around for various activities such as going to a doctor’s appointment or going to the grocery store. The housekeeping services help the patients maintain a clean living space to instill a healthy environment. “Most long-term care is to assist people with support services such as activities of daily living like dressing, bathing, and using the bathroom” (Medicare.gov, What is Long-Term Care, para. 1). All of the services provided are to help meet the medical and personal needs of the patients. To acquire the...