All You Need to Know About Long Term Care
The time finally comes that you decide to find a home for your loved one(s)-no matter how much you love and miss them, there will be times when you need someone else to take over, and long-term care homes are an inevitable option for most families. What is a long-term care home? What do they offer? ” You may start searching for answers to these questions.
If the mass of research reports and ads intimidates you, CareStory is here to help. In this article, we will provide you with a clear walkthrough of the basic concept of long-term homes and everything you need to know about them.
Let’s jump in!
What you will learn today:
– Long-term care homes, what are they?
– What are the types of residents in long-term care homes?
– Understanding the different types of long-term care and what are their functions?
– What has changed in the long-term care culture revolution?
Long-term care homes, what are they?
A long-term care home, just as its name implies, is a healthcare environment that provides nursing care. Specifically, it provides the necessary assistance to its residents for a long period of time during the day (up to 24 hours). Primarily, it offers daily assistance with eating, toileting, and bathing. Furthermore, long-term care homes also provide wellness services such as dietary instructions, life enrichment programs, and recreational activities.
Still confused? The following example may help you picture the concept.
A day in Kay’s life:
Kay is an 80-year-old resident who has been living in a long-term care home for 10 years. She has mild cognitive impairment and several physical issues that require occasional assistance from the personal care workers.
6:00 a.m.: Kay wakes up at this time, as usual. She’s been getting up no later than 7 am since she turned 70.
6:30 a.m.: Kay has finished dressing and washing, and a care worker enters her room and starts to take Kay’s blood pressure. After making sure Kay has taken her morning medicine, the worker proceeds to the next room, and Kay starts heading to the dining hall for breakfast. She usually eats with her friend Lara.
7:17 a.m.: Kay is starving at this moment. When she is about to ask for a banana shake, Lara reminds her that the dietitian told Kay to avoid foods containing high potassium due to the medicine she’s taking. So, Kay orders a cup of milk and has some biscuits.
8:25 a.m.: Kay finishes her breakfast with Lara, ready to go to the lounge and enjoy some sunlight at the seats beside the window. This is the best time of the day, not too hot, and the sky is still bright.
10:00 a.m.: Activity time! The place that Kay lives has multiple activity programs and this is what they call “Morning Inspiration Session”, which offers many different activities such as yoga, meditation, Tai chi, and even baking class.
Kay chooses Tai chi; she’s not able to do yoga because of her osteoarthritis, and the health worker at her nursing home told her that a short daily practice of meditation would help to alleviate signs of dementia.
12:00 p.m.: Lunchtime has arrived; the nutritionist has designed the residents’ menu according to each one’s need. Kay goes to the dining hall with Lara and has some chicken pasta.
2:00 p.m.: For afternoon activities, residents have the choice of singing in the choir, dancing, or doing light exercises. Kay loves to dance but her body doesn’t let her do so. Due to the deterioration of her brain function, she feels tired easily, so she decides to nap.
3:00 p.m.: A personal care worker gently wakes her up and gives Kay her medicine. The care worker asks if Kay wants to use the toilet since someone will come and help her bathe later
“You can rest after the shower,” the worker says,
“We need to make sure everyone’s taken care of.”
5:00 p.m.: Kay has finished showering, and here comes dinner time. After dinner, some of the residents need to take sedatives to go to bed, and some go back to their room and watch TV.
8:00 p.m.: This is the time that most of Kay’s neighbours become very quiet. Kay is feeling tired, too. She grabs a book and begins to read, and soon she falls asleep.
Now, you already know how a typical long-term care home works from Kay’s perspective. Actually, the service that the residents receive varies from person to person – depending on each individual’s health condition.
So, who are the people living in long-term care homes?
The types of residents in long-term care homes
There are five levels of priority, from low to very high, that determine a client’s urgency in needing long-term care. In Ontario, they use the Method for Assigning Priority Levels (MAPLe) to classify clients’ needs and allocate limited home care resources effectively.
As you can see, the need for long-term care increases as clients’ independence decreases. But placing seniors who fall within the eligibility criteria of long-term care homes isn’t like a mix-and-match game. Without proper differentiation of individuals’ needs, it would only cause chaos in in-home care systems. Therefore, CareStory has compiled four different categories of long-term care communities that allow people with different needs to find the “right home.”
Understanding the different types of long-term care and what are their functions?
Independent Living Communities
Independent Living Communities, also known as Retirement Communities, are designed for people who can live on their own. They are the least restrictive type among the four kinds of long-term care communities—if a person can maintain his or her independence and with few medical issues, then this is the right place.
This type of community offers fully equipped homes or apartments that allow people to have their privacy. It also provides social activities and recreational gatherings that enable its residents to build a sense of “community”.
The cost of independent living communities in Canada ranges from $1400 to $4500 per month (data from aplaceformom.com).
Seniors with low priority MAPle levels are advised to live in Independent Living Communities.
Assisted Living Communities
People who need 24-hour supervision can live in assisted living communities. Assisted Living Communities provide services such as eating, bathing, toileting, taking medication, transportation, and housekeeping, and just like Independent Living Communities, they offer recreational activities as well.
According to the updated data from wheredoyoulivematter.org, the monthly cost of assisted living communities in Canada can range from $1500 to $5000.
Seniors who have a mild or moderate priority of care are recommended to live in assisted living.
Another type of facility that delivers 24-hour service would be nursing homes.
Skilled nursing is for people who have lost their ability to live independently and also require ongoing medical attention. Therefore, nursing homes have skilled nursing care, which can provide a higher level of care than independent living and assisted living communities.
Taking care of a person with complex medical conditions can be exhausting, but nursing homes give patients’ family and friends a little time of “respite,” as they can be used as an alternative option for after-hospital care. In that way, nursing homes can also be referred to as “respite care”.
The average monthly rate of nursing homes in Canada that comfortlife.ca has reported ranges from $1453 to $4500.
Individuals with a high to very high priority of needing care are encouraged to opt for skilled nursing.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC)
Don’t get confused! Although it has “retirement communities” in its name, this type of community is still a little different from the retirement communities we mentioned above. In fact, CCRCs offer options for independent living, assisted living accommodations, and skilled nursing care. In that, CCRCs can also be called “life plan communities”, as the residents can access the full continuum of care for the remaining years without relocating, and a senior from any level of the MAPle priority chart can choose to live in a CCRC.
Sounds like a one-stop place for seniors to age? But it comes at a cost.
According to comfortlife.ca, the average monthly payment of a CCRC is around $3038 in Canada, which is not that big a difference from the other three types of communities, but there is also an upfront entrance fee-based on the report from CBRE, the average initial payment to enter a CCRC is $329,000.
Although the entrance fees of CCRCs are expensive, people who are applying for CCRCs are in droves—most CCRCs have a long waitlist and the applicants on their lists must wait for years to join the community.
So why are these people so keen on moving into CCRCs?
Here we can affect the perception and cultural change of long-term care.
What has changed in long-term care?
Let’s rewind time by 20 years: What does it mean to you when you hear “long-term care homes” at that time?
Well… you might think it’s a lifeless place. The atmosphere was hopeless and dull, and the endless sounds of sneezing, coughing, and grumbling filled your ears. You could even smell the harsh antiseptics mixed with human body secretions. It was just an awful experience for most of us!
Not only you, but also the elderly, were resistant to it because they felt mistreated and neglected.As the contradictions between health care providers and residents emerge, a culture change in long-term care communities has taken place.
Instead of solely focusing on medical issues and safety, the emphasis on long-term care has gradually steered toward establishing a person-directed environment that provides the elderly with dignity, self-determination, and purposeful living.
As a result of the long-term care culture revolution, getting to know each resident and staying in close contact with their families has become a trend in the long-term care industry. This explains why people tend to choose CCRCs even if they cost a pretty penny – the residents can just stay in the same environment without being moved around for their remaining years. These types of communities provide their families with peace of mind that they are being cared for and allow them to have a closer relationship with the caregivers.
Building rapport can be exhausting, but CareStory can assist you in doing so without spending a fortune. More precisely, you can now store all of the information about each senior in one place, scan it with a QR code, and allow caregivers to help your loved one more efficiently.
Worry-free is just one click away!
- Long-term care homes are home-like health care communities that provide 24-hour nursing care and assisted living according to the clients’ needs.
- The residents of long-term care communities vary from those facing a low risk of independent living to those who have several physical and cognitive impairments.
- There are four types of long-term care communities: independent living communities, assisted living communities, skilled nursing, and continuing care retirement communities (CCRC).
- The focus of long-term care homes has transformed from task-centred to human-centred in cultural evolution.
At the end,
Now you’ve learned that long-term care homes can be differentiated according to the needs of the senior residents—the more critical the situation, the higher the level of care required. Nursing homes specialise in providing seniors who need continuous attention and care. As a result, nursing homes have become a primary choice for seniors who have severe physical and/or mental diseases. When you type in “nursing homes near me” on your search engine, there will be plenty of options popping up in your browser.
However, not all nursing homes are created equally—there are actually bad ones! And choosing the wrong nursing home can be disastrous for you and your loved one. On that note, extra caution and effort are needed when choosing a suitable nursing home. See our blog post “How to Choose a Nursing Home” to find out what and how to assess a nursing home. A free checklist is available for download!