Continuing care describes the variety of health, personal, and social services provided over a prolonged period. The need for continuing care is increasing because people are living longer. Many people do not have families or others to care for them. Continuing care is mainly for patients who are disabled, functionally dependent, or suffering from a terminal disease. It is available within institutional settings or in homes. Examples include nursing centers or facilities, assisted living, respite care, adult daycare centers, and hospice.
Nursing care centers or facilities
A nursing center is a resident's temporary or permanent home with surroundings as home-like as possible. They provide 24-hour intermediate and custodial care to residents of any age with chronic or debilitating illnesses. These facilities offer routine nursing care, rehabilitation, diet, social, recreational, and religious services.
Assisted living offers privacy, independence, and security. The residents have a private room and utilize shared rooms for dining and activities. Services include laundry, meals and personal care assistance, 24-hour monitoring, and housekeeping. Some facilities assist with medication administration. However, nursing care services are not available directly. Assisted living facilities are not an option for individuals with limited financial resources.
Respite care is a short-term health service given to dependent older adults in their homes or an institutional setting. The family caregiver is not only responsible for providing care to their loved ones. However, caregivers may need to maintain a full-time job, raise a family and manage the routines of daily living. Respite care services are usually provided by trained volunteers, which helps the family caregiver leave home for work or social time.
Adult daycare provides a variety of health and social services to specific patient populations who live alone or with family in the community. They may be associated with a hospital or nursing home or operate independently. Adult daycare allows patients to obtain more independence by living at home, which reduces healthcare costs. Nurses working in daycare centers provide continuity between care delivered in the home and that provided by the center.
Hospice care is family-centered care that allows patients to live with comfort, independence, and dignity while easing the pain of a terminal illness. Hospice care is typically provided to terminally ill patients expected to live six months or less. It focuses on palliative and not curative care. Hospice care can be provided in the patient's home, hospice unit, or freestanding hospice home. An interdisciplinary hospice team works continuously with the patient's healthcare provider to develop and maintain the patient's directed individualized plan of care.
Palliative care is holistic care provided to patients with life-threatening illnesses to improve their quality of life. Palliative care focuses on the early detection and treatment of physical, psychosocial, and spiritual problems. It also helps patients by providing relief from pain and suffering. Palliative care is continuous care that includes the family of the patient. Palliative care is significant because it involves both the nurse-patient and nurse-family relationship.
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