Assessing your social, psychological and medical needs is the first step in deciding what type of long-term care is most appropriate for you. The most medically successful and personally satisfactory long-term care decisions usually begin with professionally guided assessments of both physical and emotional needs.
Since most of us want to remain in our home if we can, a good first step is to seek professional guidance in answering very important questions you may have such as:
A long-term care assessment provides those responsible for your care--you, if you're able, your care providers and your family--with vital information about your overall condition and special needs you may have. It also helps the care managers or care coordinators structure your care plan to the appropriate levels and types of services you need. It includes specific recommendations for any and all care that is seen as medically necessary. Therefore, the assessment typically will include a careful appraisal of your:
You may want to involve all of your people resources in the assessment procedure:
The results of this personal network profile give the care planner and ultimate caregivers a list of resources for regular or occasional help.
Because medical needs often dictate long-term care lifestyle needs, one of the first sources for information will be your physician. He or she will:
Your care planner may also depend on other medical and social services professionals for assistance in the preparation of your assessment. If you do not have a primary care or personal physician, your care planner or social services professional can give you recommendations or assign one to you.
Once the assessment is complete, a care manager can make recommendations that form the foundation for your care plan. The care plan designates:
A care manager--often referred to as a care coordinator--may be a health professional appointed for you from a private assessment organization or a nurse or social worker provided through public sources. The care manager or coordinator may be in charge of conducting the assessment, acting as the care planner and may also conduct the required visits to the client's home to assess how well he or she is managing day-to-day routine functions. These visits are critical to an accurate assessment of self-care capabilities. Once care is in place, it is also the care manager or coordinator who provides reassessment visits and recommends adjustments to the care plan. Should the care plans and other long-term care stress factors affect you or your family and friends as caregivers, care managers or coordinators can be helpful in keeping the ball in play as well as smoothing troubled waters. And, when a patient's family does not live nearby, care managers or coordinators can provide a vital link between family members.