A long-term care facility (LTCF) can describe anything from a person’s home to a medical center. LTCFs can take many different forms, but most of them have a residential component and involves patient interactions that last for months or years. These facilities usually feature an environment that is designed around the needs of the patient and is conducive to their ongoing care. With millions of people currently using facilities designed for long-term care, there are plenty of different professional opportunities in the industry.
Skilled Nursing Homes
Nursing homes are the first thing many people think of when they consider long-term care. These facilities often maintain staff presence and on-call medical professionals 24 hours a day to address emergencies. Facilities range significantly in size, services, and amenities, so clients often have many options and alternatives to consider. Physical rehabilitation and other types of therapies are often available at skilled nursing homes. These homes also serve people with limited or temporary needs, like those who need several months to recover from a serious injury or illness.
Residential Assisted Living
Compared to nursing homes, clients of an assisted living facility often have more independence and flexibility in their level of care. In most cases, each person has their own unit, similar to an apartment or hotel, and access to other common spaces around the site, according to the National Institute on Aging. Assisted living centers can offer a wide range of services just like nursing homes, including housekeeping, security, and daily meal service.
In-Home Care Facilities
Many aging adults choose to stay in their home and modify it to suit their changing abilities and needs. Due to the expensive nature of long-term care, friends and family members often serve an integral role in domestic care facilities. Both caregivers and receivers need to communicate and work together to create a safe, comfortable and effective environment for the necessary level of care. Moving appliances and adjusting railings, stairs, and other obstacles can make daily life much easier. Many seniors also pursue in-home assisted living with a professional nurse or caregiver who visits on a regular basis.
Careers in Long-Term Care
Doctors and nurses are always an essential component of patient care, especially for aging adults, but there are also many other career opportunities in this industry. The increasing demand for assisted living services also fuels the need for qualified management, administrative and support professionals. There are also entrepreneurial opportunities for those who want to focus on assisting in-home patients who require assistance with daily living or other specialized support. Students interested in a career related to LTCFs should consider interning in a facility to get practical experience and find specific roles that appeal to them.
Even though they take many different forms, all LTCFs feature people in need of special care and people who are providing that care. The services long-term care facilities provide are essential to the health and basic well-being of their clients, and a growing senior population means that they will be even more important in the years ahead.