“I could never put my family member in a nursing home. I could not do that to him/her.”
How often have you heard a caregiver say that while you watched that person with severe disabilities deteriorate physically and emotionally?
My response to the caregiver would be, “What are you doing for that person? Are you offering him or her continuous medical care, 24-hour safety, socialization and a sense of belonging?”
These benefits can be realized in a long-term care facility for people with severe disabilities.
Clearly a person with cerebral palsy, advanced multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain or spinal cord injury, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy or quadriplegia requires a high level of care. You shouldn’t feel guilty about seeking a long-term care facility that is equipped to meet your loved one’s complex needs. When you make a decision that best suits you and your loved one’s well being, you are making the right choice.
There are several advantages of placing a loved one with severe disabilities in a long-term care facility. These include:
- 24/7 supervised care. This is almost impossible to provide at home even with electronic devices. Family caregivers never get a rest. Care is provided in a long-term care home by certified experts around the clock. Because of this close, ongoing care, long-term care home staff often become like extended family, which residents find supportive and reassuring.
- The ability of the caregiver to return to a more normal life. Placing a loved one with severe disabilities into a long-term care home enables caregivers to spend quality time with their loved one, instead of being busy with all the tasks involved in caring for that individual with severe disabilities at home. Caregivers can rest assured their loved one is being fed, given medications at the appropriate times and being supervised in all areas to maintain or promote his or her optimum level of functionality.
- Specialized care units with trained caregivers to support people with severe disabilities. Long-term care homes for people with severe disabilities have occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech therapists and recreational therapists on site to conduct rehabilitation and maintain function, eliminating the need for therapy transport. The homes provide specialized equipment to assist with activities of daily living and functioning. In addition to clinical staff, social workers/care managers and ombudsmen are assigned to each resident who act as resident advocates.
- Socialization and community living. Long-term care homes offer people with severe disabilities the opportunity to participate in social gatherings, clubs and hobbies and attend cultural and physical activities of their choice. The opportunity to socialize with other residents of their age and interests prevents individuals from feeling isolated, a problem that is prevalent in people with disabilities.
- Financial savings. Many long-term care homes accept Medicare and Medicaid, which cover much of the cost of eligible individuals. There are obvious differences in amenities of long-term care homes. The more amenities available, generally the higher the cost.
The long-term care home industry is one of the most highly regulated industries in the United States. Annual inspections, which are unannounced, are conducted by the Department of Health. These inspections include chart reviews, interviews with residents and inspection of all areas including nursing units, kitchen areas, housekeeping and therapy areas. The results of these inspections are posted on the Internet
to assist the public with making a choice suitable for their loved ones.
Long-term care homes provide a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle that meets the needs of individuals with severe disabilities who need a high level of care.