Functionality Paper (Long-term Care)

Functionality Paper (Long-term Care). In the contemporary medical world, a growing emphasis on the promotion and maintenance of the well-being of the elderly persons is evident. That is for sure given the introduction of various services, which seek to address the needs of the elderly individuals. A case in point of such services is the long-term care option whose main aim is to enhance and maintain the functionality of persons lacking self-care abilities like the aged people in the society.

Such an alternative of care for the aged persons is significant especially in the USA where close to 10million persons are in need of some of form of long-term care (Linton, 2016). Given such a large proportion, there is a need for comprehension of this care option. In essence, this paper focuses on the same by seeking to clarify to a client on the significance and validity of pursuing long-term care options for his elderly parents. Central to the analysis are various themes that are worth noting. They include the available long-term care options, the importance of these alternatives and the validity of planning for long-term care. By so doing, a new understanding of long-term care by the client and his parents is inevitable.

Available Long-term Levels of Care

Currently, long-term care services for the elderly persons are on offer in different levels of care that are worth mention.  They include domiciliary care, personal care homes, intermediate care and skilled care. Despite the differentiation of these levels of long-term care, a particular type of facility can offer more than a single level of care.

Precisely, domiciliary care homes do not provide 24-hour care, and residents usually come and leave as they wish. Personal care homes offer medically ordered treatments, three or more personal services, and supervise self-medication among the residents. As for the intermediate care facilities, provision of 24-hour custodial care associated with the nursing home level. Lastly, in skilled nursing facilities, skilled healthcare professionals offer services throughout the day under the supervision of a physician (Linton, 2016).

Significance of Exploring Long-term Care Options

Different long-term care options offer varied services that collectively assure the well-being of the elderly people. As such, exploring all the available alternatives for the most suitable long-term care option for a specific elderly person is necessary. Primarily, an exploration of this kind bears the significance of ensuring that an elderly individual’s satisfaction is inevitable. That is the case since the aged person chooses a long-term care facility or alternative that befits his/her preferences. Besides, the chosen long-term care option is one tailored to the needs of a specific elderly individual, which further ensures his/her satisfaction (Matthews, & Nolo, 2016). With such advantages, the need for exploration of long-term care is apparent.

Weighing of the available long-term care options is also important in the sense that individuals have the ability to come to terms with the cost feasibility of the various alternatives. The long-term care options in the USA are devoid of adequate financial support in the form of healthcare insurance plans. As such, this necessitates thorough investigation of the available long-term care facilities for the establishment of their acceptable healthcare insurance plans (Matthews, & Nolo, 2016). In the absence of such a consideration, the aged individual might end up choosing a long-term care facility that does not accept his/her subscribed healthcare insurance plan.

Finally, different long-term care facilities have varied set of rules and state agencies certification. Given this variability in the various facilities, the quality of care provided will also differ. That said, reviewing all the available options to ascertain their rules and state agencies certification is necessary if one is to settle on the right choice among the available alternatives (Matthews, & Nolo, 2016). Given this advantage, it is beyond doubt that analysis of all the available long-term care options before choosing one alternative is vital.

Validity of the need for Exploring Long-term Care Options

Primarily, the choice to explore the various long-term care options is valid as evidenced by the several existent reasons that are worth noting. For instance, according to Healey, and Evans, (2015) old age is one of the indications for investigating available long-term care options that an individual may utilize during the elderly years. Old age is an indication since it comes with the challenges associated with loss of function due to the advanced age. Given this eventuality for the client’s parents whose ages are more advanced, the decision to explore the various facilities that can provide long-term care services to meet these needs is a justified one.

Additionally, the validity of the exploration of the long-term care options also stems from the fact that old age comes with deteriorated health status. Such a poor health status associated with advanced age necessitates the attendance of skilled healthcare professionals for the improvement and maintenance of good health. Services of this kind are available at the various long-term care options for the elderly persons (Healey, & Evans, 2015). As such, reviewing these alternatives is a justified decision made by the client and his parents who are at risk of falling victims of ill health associated with the advanced age.

Together with that, cognition loss is another reason that justifies the decision to explore the available long-term care options. That is for sure because with cognition loss, an inevitable eventuality for the old persons, one becomes unable to accomplish several activities of daily living (ADLs). Such a deficiency warrants compensation by other persons who will assist the affected to meet these self-care needs on a daily basis. Such services are specifically available at the long-term care facilities that are at the disposal of the elderly persons (Healey, & Evans, 2015). Given the abundance of these facilities, an exploration of each is necessary for the determination of the specific services that match with personal preference of the elderly persons.

Specific Loss of Function that may Affect ADLs

Activities of daily living (ADLs) refer to all activities that one ought to perform on their own without any form of assistance. Such activities may include but not limited to bathing, toileting (bladder and bowel care), dressing, eating, and grooming. Old age may come with some specific losses of function that may affect one or more ADLs of an individual necessitating the use of long-term care services (Matthews, & Nolo, 2016). Such specific losses of function are worth mention as they further demonstrate the need for planning for long-term care among the elderly.

A befitting example of such a specific loss is the loss of cognitive function associated with senile dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Senile dementia causes one to present with loss of function in at least two domains namely memory and one of the following: perception, calculation, problem-solving, language and judgment. As for the ADLs, such persons will present with difficulty in meeting their ADLs such as clothing, toileting due to incontinence, and eating secondary to dysphagia (Hinkle, Brunner, Cheever, &Suddarth, 2014). Inability to meet these self-care activities necessitates the assistance of other persons to enable the aged individuals to meet these basic needs.

Notwithstanding, the seniors are also vulnerable to the sensory loss such as vision loss, which negatively influences their well-being. That is for sure since vision loss, which may be due to old age or conditions such diabetes, will interfere with the performance of ADLs among the affected persons. Without proper eyesight, the elderly individuals are unable to perform ADLs such as grooming, cooking, and driving (Hinkle, Brunner, Cheever, &Suddarth, 2014). As such, planning for long-term care services for the aged persons is of the essence if the avoidance of these deficiencies is to materialize.

Finally, Parkinson’s disease, which is common in old age, also results in specific loss of functions that negatively affect the ADLs of elderly persons. Such is the case given that Parkinson’s disease leads to changes in memory, thinking, visual and swallowing in the old individuals. Memory and thinking alterations affect one’s ability to carry out daily activities such as grooming, toileting and eating patterns. On the other hand, visual changes will affect activities such as grooming, cooking, and driving. As for the swallowing alterations, the elderly persons will present with difficulty in eating and thus a diminished nutritional status (Matthews, & Nolo, 2016). With such imminent difficulty in achieving ADLs, it is beyond doubt that there is a need for making arrangements for the long-term care of elderly persons in advance.


Concisely, this paper aimed at analyzing the significance and validity of pursuing long-term care options for elderly persons. Largely, the discussion has achieved this objective by establishing the available long-term care choices, the importance of these alternatives and the validity of planning for long-term care. An implication drawn from this analysis is the need for more long-term care services for the elderly persons. That is for sure given the rapid aging population that warrants the availability of these services. As such, going into the future, the focus for healthcare programs targeting the elderly persons must align their objectives to these needs. In the absence of such consideration, the elderly persons will remain vulnerable to the psychological torture that comes with the changes associated with their advanced age.


Healey, B. J., & Evans, T. M. (2015). Introduction to health care services: Foundations and challenges.San Francisco, CA :Jossey-Bass, A Wiley brand

Hinkle, J. L., Brunner, L. S., Cheever, K. H., &Suddarth, D. S. (2014). Brunner &Suddarth’s textbook of medical-surgical nursing. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Linton, A. D. (2016). Introduction to medical-surgical nursing. St. Louis, Missouri: Elsevier

Matthews, J. L., & Nolo (Firm). (2016). Long-term care: How to plan and pay for it.Berkeley, CA : Nolo.