Shannon Packard Long-term care is one of the options an individual has when it comes to care and treatment needed when one becomes older, disabled or develops a chronic illness. With the possibility of needing to receive such services in the future there are certain things one must ask them self, such as: What is this delivery systems role in providing services? What type of contribution, or lack of contribution, does it make to the overall management of healthcare services?
When transitioning patients from one level of care to another what role does long term care play? What types of services are provided to patients and how do the services fit into the continuum of care? Lastly, with the future trends in health care how will the services patients receive be affected to keep up with the changes made to health care? Long-term care is generally provided in a facility such as nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, inpatient behavioral health facilities and long-term chronic care hospitals (MedicineNet, 2003).
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However this care can be provided in other settings as well like the patients home, home of a friend or family member or an adult day care facility (Day, n. d. ). This delivery systems role in providing services falls in the residential and care of the patients. They are concerned with continuing and/or enhance the patient’s ability to operate independently for as long as possible, making a comfortable social and physical environment to enhance the individual’s independence and quality of life and providing the best services to better meet the expectations of the patients as well as his or her family and friends (Stone, 2000).
With this role in mind how does the long-term care service contribute to the management of healthcare services? With long-term care management of healthcare ervices may be more difficult due to the decreased mental and physical capabilities of the patients. One contribution is the training of staff members to not only recognize abuse of patients, but how to correct and prevent this abuse from happening.
This is a vitally important contribution due to the fact that the deteriorating mental and physical well beings of patients make them easy targets for abuse, and they generally have a difficult time defending themselves or even identifying who their abusers are. Since this abuse may come not only from outside sources but from employees as well the long-term care field contributes to the safety f the patients by always performing their own background and employment checks.
This ensures the facility that the chance of abuse, as well as other issues, are less likely to happen. Another important contribution that this system has made is setting up a reporting system that keeps the lines of communication open between medical teams. With the care needed for patients around the clock it is vital that any issues in regards to procedures, policies, medications and other services be brought to comes from long-term care facilities is the training of the health care professionals who work there.
In this type of facility professionals have to deal with decisions needed to be made in regards to the loss of physical and mental capabilities with a patient, as well as the death of patients. Medical professionals need to be trained not only in how to communicate with family and legal guardians when dealing with decisions when a patient becomes worse off or dies, but also how to handle the paperwork and procedures during these hard times (Hawkins, 2010). Yet how does long-term care handle the transition of patients from one level of care to another?
Some individuals only need long-term care for a short period of time while they ecover from and illness or injury; others on the other hand may require this care for the rest of his or her life. With the patients that need the care for the rest of his or her life there is only days of good (better) or bad (worse). These individuals may need to transition from their home to a long-term care facility, or from a long-term care facility to a hospital, or any other type of scenario.
These transitions can be stressful for both the patient and the health care professionals. Problems during transitions between facilities can happen (such as the continuation of care among the different acilities, service duplication, aspects of care are not received and medication errors) and strategies should be put into play to reduce the chance of the associated issues and correct those that have arisen (National Institute of Nursing Research, 2006). Many steps are taken to ensure that these transitions go smoothly for the patient.
There is a change in perspective (patient transfer instead of patient discharge), start planning the patients transfer a good amount of time before the patients admittance to the new facility, communication between practitioners to formulate and execute a ommon care plan (thus reducing the chance of double or missed care and medication), verify that the new facility is capable and prepared to care for the new patient, ensure that all forms are completed correctly, making sure that a health care team is available to the patient and that any discrepancies or confusion in regards to the patients care are cleared up before the transition is complete (Fox & Coleman, 2004). When someone has to make the difficult choice to either place a loved one in a long-term care facility or enter the facility themselves, what type of services should they expect to be received? Some of the services that are provided to these individuals are things many of us seem to take for granted (i. . walking, bathing, using the restroom, getting dressed, eating and/or drinking, answering and speaking on the phone, doing the laundry, and taking care of one’s personal hygiene and grooming). This however is only the tip of the iceberg in many cases. Individuals who are receiving long-term care need help with more than Just the normal daily activities. As the patient’s health and mental state declines the services they obtain grow (i. e. pain management, physical and/or occupational therapy, assisting in edical needs, going to doctor’s appointments and administration of medications) (Day, n. d. ). What lies in the future for long-term care?
Documentation of patient care needs to be done carefully and properly to ensure a facility stays in compliance with regulations. With many insurance providers, especially Medicaid and Medicare, a patient’s treatment and care must be Justified in documents in order to receive payment. With a large number of patients the facility has a large amount of spending more time and resources dealing with the paperwork than caring for the patients. Machines and systems are slow and in some cases out of date. As technology is advancing the process of documentation and claims processing advances as well. To receive long term care is a difficult choice to make, regardless if it is for the care of one’s self or that of a loved one.
This type of care however can be received in multiple different settings, and the services provided can give one the ability to stay independent to a degree for a longer period of time, as well as help them with tasks that need to be accomplished every day with ease and peace of mind. The transition into, as well as within a long-term care facility is not always a erfect one, but steps are being taken to make the process a smooth as possible for the patient, the family and friends involved, and the health care providers. Technology has played a large role in making the care and treatment of individual’s in this setting as easy as possible, and as technology advances so will the ability to care for the aging and disabled part of the American population.