The Future of Long Term Care

The Future of Long Term Care





The Future of Long Term Care

Long-term health care refers to an assortment of health mechanisms and services that aim at meeting the requirements of individuals suffering from chronic illnesses or those incapable of taking care of themselves for long periods. Long-term care does not centre on health services only but also on skilled custodial care. The services entail a combination of medical expertise and skilled custodial care for patients. Long-term care is manifested informally or formally. Formal care is provided at residence with use of scientific services such as nurses and treatment therapy. Formal care is expensive to undertake and is mostly covered by health insurance companies. Informal long-term care entails physical and emotional support from family, friends and volunteers. Informal care is the most common form of long-term care with over 85% of people using it on chronic patients (Burwell & Gerst, 2011). The existent system of health care delivery is failing. The future of health care lies on a shift to geriatric workforce, financial restructures and changes in the government managed long-term care.

A geriatric workforce refers to a workforce that is skilled and trained in the care of older adults (Kevin, 2010). The current workforce of doctors and nurses who have the skill to take care of older adults is in short supply. A geriatric workforce is in response with the public’s yearning for flexibility in informal health care. A family member or friend can be able to offer qualified and skilled long-term care to a patient. Direct health care from a family member gives personalized and effective health care as compared to a hired nurse. A geriatric work force will also lower the cost of long-term care as it removes the need for hired help.

The current government managed health program for long-term care only benefits patients that are registered with designated health programs. This leaves out many patients who need health care especially patients that have surgical site infections. Site infections disqualify patients from governmental health care because of the nature of their illness (Burwell & Gerst, 2011). The current government system requires expansion from urban areas to rural areas. This is in an effort to decentralize healthcare and increase access of health care. The government should also lower consumer costs on the services offered in healthcare. Government mechanisms such as Medicaid should be lowered in cost for poor people to be able to access long-term care.

The financial structure of the tradition health care system hands a consumer an option on the amount of money he/she will receive per month for health care. It also offers an option of how long the monthly portions should last (Howard, 2009). The drawback in this financial structure is that the policyholder rarely needs long term care resulting in the loss of premiums paid to an insurance company. The existent structure is normally referred to as use- it-or-lose-it policy (Howard, 2009). A modified financial structure for healthcare lies in expansion of the policy to whole life insurance. The policyholder can request and claim an advance disbursement from the policy. The advance payment can be used in backing long-term care. The modified financial structure allows the death benefit to act as a living benefit with the policyholder not having to wait until old age to benefit from the policy. The policyholder can access qualified long-term care and not have to liquidate any of the property that was set aside for retirement.

Long-term health care in the future requires hands on approach with average individuals taking up a more participatory role. The three strategies discussed above highlight a shift towards public awareness in health care. Advancing education transformation in average citizens equips them with the ability to offer qualified health care. Financial restructuring removes the barriers in health care delivery and practice in care. This serves for both immediate and long-term requirements for chronic patients. Modification of the government health care program will increase access and availability of long-term health care services. The changes will serve the entire society irrespective of financial status.




Burwell, B. & Gerst, K. ((2011). The Past, the Present and the Future of Managed Long Term Care. Public Service Health Care, 1-33.

Howard, G. (2009). The Future of Long Term Health Care: What is its place in the Health Reform Debate?, Tax Policy Center, 1-16.

Kevin, K. (2010). Geriatrics health Care Workforce, The American Geriatrics Society,1-10.

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