The realities of having a chronic illness or disability and the limitations they place on life can be hard to face. Making the decision to place yourself or a loved one into long-term care due to those limitations can be doubly difficult. Many different emotions and practical factors can play a part in choosing whether to go with life in a facility or continuing at-home care options. Caregivers often feel conflicted about looking to outside help to take care of a cherished loved one. There may be fear of leaving home and familiar surroundings for the person considering a long-term care environment. These and other factors can impact making the right decision for the situation and your needs. When considering long-term care, it’s important to keep some key factors in mind to help you determine what is appropriate for you or your loved one.
The main reason that many people start to consider long-term care is that they or a loved one requires more care than can be given at home. For example, the need for extensive help with daily living activities such as such as bathing, eating and toileting may indicate that long-term care help is needed. Sometimes, it’s a lack of structure in daily living that can become a source of worry such as forgetting to take medications or taking medications incorrectly. Safety issues such as increased risk of falls or a habit of wandering to unsafe locations may also be indications that a facility that offers more supervision and security is needed.
Long-term care facilities offer many benefits compared to at-home care options. First, facilities have professional skilled nursing care staff members that are trained to meet your or your loved one’s needs. They also provide individualized plans of care and nursing and physician services around the clock. Second, many facilities, such as Capitol Hill Healthcare, have a goal of promoting the highest state of well-being for their residents. To help their residents achieve this, they have interdisciplinary care teams that consist of several entities such as physical therapists, dietitians, recreational therapists, social workers, etc. Finally, long-term care facilities offer a vibrant social environment with therapeutic activities aimed at increasing engagement and staving off loneliness and isolation.
Making a decision
After considering the benefits of a long-term environment, the idea of seeking care outside the home can still be daunting. However, a few considerations that can make the decision easier are doing thorough research and involving loved ones in the planning. There are several online resources for researching skilled nursing facilities, however the most comprehensive is maintained by the U.S. government. Nursing Home Compare provides detailed information about all Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing homes in the nation and easily ranks them by a star system. After narrowing down choices online, if a tour is possible to schedule, an in-person visit at the facility can be very helpful. If feasible bring the potential resident and other decision makers so they may see the environment, meet with staff members and ask questions.
Making it home
After finalizing the decision to choose long-term care, the facility and loved ones can help make the transition to the new environment easier. It’s important that the new resident feels at home and loved ones are encouraged to build a relationship with the facility community by regularly visiting the resident and participating in their plan of care. Loved ones are also encouraged to participate in social activities such as holiday celebrations and recreational activities. The transition to long term care is also made smoother by making the facility feel more like home. Personalize your or your loved one’s room with items from home that bring comfort or create familiarity.
While deciding to choose long term care can be difficult, making a decision to surround yourself or a loved one with healthcare professionals who can promote the greatest well-being for their residents is the right decision when the time comes. If staying in the home becomes unsafe for you or a loved one or medical needs require closer supervision and monitoring, the transition can help improve the quality of life and increase peace of mind for everyone involved.
To learn more about long-term care and living at Capitol Hill Healthcare go to www.capitolhillcare.com and schedule an appointment for a tour.