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Extended Care


Extended care is also known as long term care and is the type of accomodation that many individuals need to consider for a family member, particularly as they become older and are less able to take care of themselves without the assistance of perhaps a nurse, doctor or should they have spent a significant amount of time in a hospital.  Topics, such as extended care, are increasingly becoming important to know more about.  This in many ways has to do with demographics.  The population group known as the Baby Boomers, or just Boomers for short, are an increasingly aging group and as they age their children will be increasingly responsible for making sure that their retired parents are taken care of.  The purpose of this article is not so much to provide a totally comprehensive overview of all of the many and at times complex issues dealing with hospitals, doctors, nurses and the accomodations necessary for ensuring that a parent undergoes either the appropriate rehabilitation treatments or whatever is necessary for their health care.  Rather, this article hopes to provide a more general approach that will touch on many of the different issues surrounding long term care and perhaps provide a relevant starting point for beginning to think more comprehensively about this grouping of topics.


Though extended care is not primarily concerned with rehab, it can be at times.  There are times after major accidents where a nurse will be required on an extended basis in order to ensure that a particular individual is able to recover over the period of time that is required for whatever injury or illness that there is.  In such cases it may also be necessary to employ the services of a physiotherapist or whatever particular specialist is required.  One of the more pressing concerns for individuals who are considering long term care of this sort is obviously the cost.  The cost for long term care can be extremely high and as such it is always very helpful to have an appropriate and sufficient level of health insurance coverage in order to meet whatever necessary health care needs that extended care might hold for you or a loved one.  As recent media reports have often suggested, health care is an ongoing issues that affects millions of people every day.  As the population ages, issues such as these will make long term care an increasingly demographic issue instead of simply an issue about those with serious illnesses regardless of age.


When we think about long term care there are a number of options, particularly for aged individuals.  One such option is probably the direst and this is known as palliative care.  Palliative care is most often considered for individuals who have a terminal disease or illness and for whom there is little chance of recovery.  This may be the case in some forms of cancer, but there are many, many reasons that might lead an individual to seek palliative care either for themselves or for a terminally ill loved one.  Palliative care is as much a question of philosophy as it is of health care.  In cases such as these, the little that health care can accomplish has most likely been tried and this form of extended care is instead about ensuring a dying individual’s comfort in their final days and weeks.  As such, one important part of this sort of care is to help dying people reconcile themselves to their mortality and to take away some of what is often felt to be clinical atmosphere surrounding health care.  Palliative care facilities often seek to provide that personal touch for families who are attempting to deal with these difficult and complex issues.


Another, perhaps less stressful though increasingly important type of extended care are nursing homes, also increasingly known as long term care centers or facilities.  Oftentimes the children of aged parents will choose such an option, often, hopefully, in consultation with their parents in order to decide upon an appropriate living arrangement for the aged family member.  The reason for this is in most cases an inability for the aged parent to live on their own in a functional manner.  There can be a number of reasons why this might become the case for an aged person.  One such reason can be physical disability result from a number of causes though in some cases it is when there are, for example, too many stairs in a house that makes it increasingly troublesome to navigate that a different living arrangement might be considered.  Other such reasons might include the aged person developing mental disorders such as dementia, which can provide a serious obstacle to overcome as it may make the individual in question entirely unable to care for themselves, but also not any more willing to be moved from a house that they have gotten used to over the years.


As such, it is important to look at the many different long term care facilities that are available not only due to budget restraints, but also by looking at what exactly is available in an area and what kind of specific medical attention the person in question requires.  There are many assisted-living facilities that are available, but these are not your only choices.  In addition there are various forms of group living available as well as means of adjusting the home environment, or perhaps moving to a more stable and institutional setting such as a nursing home.  In order to decide which nursing homes suit you, one of the best ways of deciding is to visit and decide how you feel.  Look around the place and think about how the other residents look and if you would feel comfortable leaving a parent or other family member to the care of the staff.  The quality of such an institution is variable and as such it is always a good idea to visit as many as possible in order to get some basis for a comparative judgement before finally deciding upon the one that you think is best.  Be sure to engage the staff and management in conversation and do your best to get the feel of the place.