What is Long-Term Care?

Long-term care is an umbrella term for several types of services provided to individuals with complex care needs during an extended period. Practitioners in the long-term care system can support vulnerable people’s emotional and physical health journey by providing outstanding nursing care and personal care in their own homes.

This type of care can be provided in a nursing home or a home care arrangement. Long-term care at home can be provided by family members, but many individuals with complex needs require support from trained clinicians. Professional long-term care costs nearly the same in a residential care home, as it does at one’s front door, but the latter allows the person to stay close to their family members.

Long-term care includes assistance with daily living activities (such as bathing, washing, dressing, and going to the toilet), mobility assistance, and community services (transportation, adult day care, and preparing meals). Before taking on a new client, practitioners outline an individualised care plan that includes the person’s unique requirements, preferences, and boundaries. This enables people with long-term home health care needs to receive tailored care in a respectful and dignified environment.

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What Are the Different Types of Home-Based Long-Term Care Services?

Home-based long-term care services involve providing the person with medical care and tailored support with everyday activities. This enables individuals with complex care needs to live independently in their familiar surroundings and the company of their loved ones. In contrast to short-term in-home care, which benefits those recovering from an operation, long-term care is suitable for people who require ongoing medical attention.

Long-term care at home is usually provided by carers and may involve professionals employed through home healthcare agencies, such as therapists, nurses, and homemakers. These care services include the following types of care:

  • Home health care – includes nursing care services for particular conditions under a physician’s instructions, such as physical, occupational or speech therapy

  • Personal care and homemaking services – assistance with washing teeth, showering, dressing, meal preparation, and other household chores

  • Friendly visitor and companion services – regular short visits to vulnerable individuals living alone, usually by volunteers that provide them with emotional companionship and support

  • Transportation services – transporting individuals with complex needs to medical appointments, restaurants, shopping centres, and other vital locations in the community

  • Emergency response services – immediate care provided in an emergency as a response to a signal from the patient. In some cases, this is via medical alert necklaces or bracelets, which particularly beneficial for people who live alone and are at risk of collapsing

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Who Needs Long-Term Care?

Long-term care at home is a suitable option for individuals with ongoing, complex health conditions or disabilities. These people’s support needs often develop gradually, making them more likely to need long-term care as they age and become more fragile. However, in some cases, people may suddenly develop the need for long-term care – for example, after a stroke or heart attack.

Several factors may increase the possibility of requiring long-term care at home, such as gender, old age, and marital status. Although long-term home care is beneficial for younger people with a wide range of needs, the need for it increases as individuals age. Due to statistically living longer, women may constitute a more significant part of clients in these services. Individuals who are single, widowed, or who live alone, are more likely to need companionship and assistance from trained carers.

Long-term care plans cover a wide range of conditions that can impede a person’s independence, such as learning disability, complex mental health disorders, dementia, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and all chronic diseases. Practitioners in this sector are prepared for handling behaviours that may challenge, medical emergencies and offer assistance with medical aids (wheelchair, catheter, stoma).

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Preparing for Long Term Care
Who Needs Long Term Care

The Elderly and Frail?

Age always comes with the need for long term care, especially if you do not have relatives to look after you. Signing up for long term care can be the best option for your health and quality of life.

Individuals Living with End-of-Life Illnesses

Ailments like cancer, diabetes or organ complications usually require long term care to help with tasks like changing catheters, managing personal hygiene, and watching out for blood and sugar levels.

Long term care providers employed for these conditions have the necessary skills and are trained nurses. So, you don’t have to worry about how safe the processes can be.

Individuals Who Are Recuperating

You don’t get around much when recovering from illnesses, accidents and surgeries. And as such, you would need the assistance of a long term provider to see you through the healing process.

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Goals of Long-Term Care

Long-term care services have more complex, interdisciplinary goals than short-term or acute care. While acute care is focused on returning the client to a previous level of independent functioning, long-term care seeks to encourage social adjustment to the eventual health decline and prevent deterioration. This way, long-term carers permanently accommodate individuals with complex care needs and minimise the social barriers imposed on them.

With long-term care at home, the client can live a dignified, independent life with their privacy and boundaries respected. Dedicated carers prioritise the person’s lifestyle preferences and respect their self-determination. Long-term home care enables individuals with complex needs to nurture relationships with family members and establish social interactions in their local community.

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Long-Term Care Planning

One can never be sure whether they will eventually require long-term care. Even without a family history, people can develop an illness or suffer an unexpected injury that suddenly affects their everyday lives. Therefore, it is wise to plan and make sure you can access long-term care before you need it. Learning about care costs and available services in your community enables you to make an informed decision for yourself or a loved one.

Regardless of your financial situation, you are entitled to a care needs assessment from the social care department in your local authority. A trained professional, such as a nurse or an occupational therapist, should perform this assessment. If you prefer, a friend or relative can accompany you during the process.

Depending on your area, if your assets and savings are below the particular limit, you may be eligible for state-sponsored NHS funding for your care needs. The funding you will receive is estimated according to your healthcare needs (based on the care needs assessment) and the amount of money you can pay yourself (based on a financial assessment).

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Benefits of Long-Term Care

Long-term care insurance is a vital investment for a safe future in case of developing a complex condition or facing an abrupt health care challenge. Access to professional long-term care is not only beneficial for the individual but also offers peace of mind for the whole family. While nursing home healthcare is still a common choice for many individuals with complex needs (especially among older people), long-term care at home offers a revolutionary outlook on personal care and medical assistance.

A close family member may initially provide care at home for a loved one with a learning disability, neurodevelopmental condition, or chronic illness. However, this is a demanding job that requires 24-hour assistance, and may overwhelm an unqualified primary caregiver and require temporary breaks (covered by respite care). Long-term care is a permanent solution that covers the individual’s needs in their own home. These services bring the following benefits:

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How to Choose Long-Term Care for Your Loved Ones

A loved one being diagnosed with a disability is a life-changing event for the whole family. An adequate long-term care package is the best way to secure dedicated, person-centred assistance for yourself or your loved ones. Regardless of your income, long-term care insurance, and other benefits in funding from a local authority, can pay the cost for outstanding care in your own home. If you are in need of a care package, Leaf Complex Care is the right place for you.

Leaf Complex Care provides CQC-regulated care programs for individuals with complex needs in Bristol, Slough, Somerset and the Midlands. Caring for clients on every step of their health journey is our care team’s life calling. We offer tailored, individualised assistance at home that allows people to stay close to their families. Contact us at our phone number or via email, and we will outline an immediate care plan according to your personal care requirements.

Help People with Long-Term Care

If you are an aspiring practitioner who wants to leave an impact on the lives of vulnerable people, the Leaf Family is the right place to advance your career. As a part of our expert team, you can assist individuals with complex needs over an extended period in their own homes. We offer free training and a welcoming work environment where your dedication will be rewarded with a wide range of benefits. Don’t hesitate to send us your resume alongside your personal information and get the opportunity to create a better world for people with complex health needs.