Long-term care refers to a range of services that provide medical and non-medical services as well as physical, social and mental support to meet the needs of people with chronic illness or functional limitations that make performing simple or complex daily activities on their own difficult. The primary objective of long-term care is to promote independence, maximize quality of life, and meet the needs of the individual in a safe and nourishing environment.
There are many reasons that necessitate long-term care. The need could be instantaneous, such as a stroke or heart attack or it could be gradual as in elderly health issues including cognitive impairment, heart disease, loss of bone density, lung disease, Parkinson’s disease among others. The type of long-term care setting is dependent on the personal and other needs of the individual.
The most prevalent and sought-after type of long-term care is personal care, or what is generally known as “activities of daily living” which focuses on assistance in day to day activities such as hygiene and bathing, dressing and grooming, using the toilet, preparing meals, and for some individuals, assistance in performing simple tasks as eating or movement support as in such tasks as getting in and out of bed.
Long-term care represents a significant burden to the millions of elderlies in need, their families, and the medical establishments in their country especially around issues of accessibility, level of quality, expenditure, and the distribution of the burden of care.