Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Finding the Right Care Fit

December 14, 2010

A recent story by NPR reported that currently, adults ages 31 to 64 comprise about 14 percent of residents  in nursing homes. This is not surprising given the increasing diversity of today’s resident population. Nursing and rehabilitation facilities (often referred to as nursing homes) no longer care for only the elderly or chronically ill. They also care for individuals requiring intensive physical rehabilitation, which are a large part of that 14 percent. The article also offers a glimpse into the challenges faced by younger individuals living at home who need long term care and services over an extended period of time.

The dynamics of care selection are well known in the long term and post acute care profession, but not necessarily by the general public. For example, when deciding where to receive care, the individual’s needs must come first. Do they require 24 hour care (which a nursing facility offers), or only assistance with activities of daily living? Answering these questions before making decisions is critical to finding the right care fit. When considering home care, it’s also important to consider whether or not the community has programs in place and resources available. In the NPR story, AHCA’s Janice Zalen and University of Maryland professor Nancy Miller point out that many community-based programs present their own challenges. In addition, state funding and support for home care continues to lag due to economic conditions.

This reinforces the important role of nursing and rehabilitation facilities in today’s society: all care services under one roof, with the goal of returning home. These facilities provide the kind of care that was once only available only in the hospital. Patients with hip and knee replacements now may recuperate from surgery in a facility where they receive the skilled nursing and rehabilitative care they need before returning home – frequently, about a month after surgery.

No comments:

Post a Comment