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Continuum of care

Posted February 26, 2014 in Advice Column

Continuum of care in a health care setting includes independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing care, Alzheimers care and rehabilitation. The term suggests a concept of an increasing intensity of care rather than a specific and unvarying list of services.

Frail elders may enter the continuum of care by enlisting the services of a home health agency, then progress to assisted living, then enter a skilled nursing facility as their health challenges escalate.

Theoretically, consumers enter care at the lowest level capable of addressing their problem and advance to higher levels only as their problems become more complex and demanding.

Q: What is home health care?
A: Home health care is skilled nursing care and certain other health care services you get in your home for treatment of an illness or an injury.

Q: What is independent living?
A: Essentially, it is living like everyone else — having opportunities to make decisions that affect one’s life and able to pursue activities of one’s own choosing.

Q: What is assisted living?
A: Residents of an assisted living facility have as much independence as they want with the knowledge that personal care and support services are available if they need them.

Q: What is a skilled nursing care facility?
A: An establishment that typically houses chronically ill, usually elderly patients and provides long-term nursing care, rehabilitation, and other services, also called long-term care facility or nursing home.

Information provided Elizabeth Owens, an administrator for Continental Senior Living, 641-437-1999, ext. 115.

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