Long-Term Care on the Family Term Paper

Pages: 10 (3689 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 12  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Healthcare

Persons who must work fewer hours in order to care for a loved one lose more than the reduced income. They lose in terms of lost retirement savings, benefits and can lose healthcare benefits for themselves. This can place strain on the person giving the care in many ways.

Few public assistance programs exist to aid those who care for elderly patients. The Clinton administration enacted a tax credit of $3,000 for persons who care for persons needing assistance at home (Johnson and Lo Sasso, 2000). There are several emerging programs to provide respite and services to caregivers. The Omnibus long-term Care Act of 1999 (H.R. 2691) would provide Medicare benefits and Social Security credits to workers who leave their jobs to care for their frail parents (Johnson and Lo Sasso, 2000). These are just a few of the measures being taken to help alleviate burden and strain on caregivers. They are not enough in many cases, but they are a start.

Many feel that this is an area that needs greater attention. The cost of long-term care in a formal facility far exceeds those incurred by patients cared for at home on a permanent basis. Some policy makers are now favoring the provision of subsidies for persons who stay home to care for loved ones, arguing that this would save more money than it would cost, in keeping more patients out of expensive long-term care facilities (Johnson and Lo Sasso, 2000).

At first glance this would seem like a cure for everyone's dilemma. Money would be saved in Long-term Care costs; employees could replace income and lost benefits due to having to lose time at work.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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However, opponents to this idea point out that the solution may not be as easy as it seems. No studies have been conducted to determine if there are adequate workers to care for the number of elderly. It has also not been shown if the subsidies provide will be adequate to maintain and decent lifestyle. It would be unlikely that a former high salary earner would wish to give that up for minimum wage that barely meets basic subsistence needs. This plan appears to provide solutions, but without further study, it may prove to cause more burden than it resolves.

Term Paper on Long-Term Care on the Family Assignment

The Merck Manual of Geriatrics states that geriatric social work is the fastest growing segment of social work, with nearly 49,000 worker nation wide (Berkman, 2000). These social workers provide help with cognitive, behavioral, and emotional issues in elderly patients. They also provide help for caregivers in coping with the stress that caregiving causes. They can help to provide a coordinated plan for the patient an their caregiver (Berkman, 2000). The note the caregivers support system, cultural and ethnic background, and spiritual values. They take these into consideration and help to provide individualized services appropriate to the circumstance. They address the psychological and social issues of long-term care, an area which until recently was entirely overlooked.

It has been found that when a social worker is involved in the long-term care plan, a patient often has shorter hospital stays, and caregivers can gain many benefits including better health for themselves due to lowered stress (Berkman, 2000). The addition of a social worker to the overall care plan of a patient may help relative to care for them at home, thus reducing overall long-term health care costs for the government. Families who care for their loved ones at home need a support system and providing this support system will mean less stress and the ability to keep the proved one at home longer. This system allows the social worker to provide assistance tailored to the individual needs of the family.

Craig Hospital (2003) has conducted several studies on the effects of caring for a sick, disabled, elderly person on a long-term basis. The Craig Hospital reports that caregivers experience many health problems as a result of stress including health problems sleep disorders, and other affects of stress. According to these studies, caregivers who had cared for a quadriplegic for and average of 7 1/2 years had a 75% higher stress level than the average population. Stress appeared as burnout, physical and emotional exhaustion, which manifested in low self-esteem, a negative attitude, a loss of concern for others, and a loss of focus on their own lives (Craig Hospital, 2003).

The Effects on the Caregiver

The Craig Hospital found that stress in caregivers had four major causes. The first cause was a loss of personal time and space. Caring for a loved one who is disabled from any cause does not involve any holidays. The person is always sick and always needs care. The nurse in s facility goes home after their shift. The person caring for someone at home cannot just leave and go home. Many times the caregiver must ignore their own needs to put the needs of others first, especially if they have a family of their own as well. When a new challenge occurs, the time comes out of free time, not caregiving time.

The second cause of stress identified by Craig Hospital was a feeling of social isolation. This is in many times tied to the first cause of stress. Social time is free time and this is the area that suffers the most in long-term care. Many adults who care for loved ones do not get time when they are with other adults who provide stress relief and entertainment.

The relationship between the person being care for and the caregiver often suffer. Relationships between other family members such as a spouse, other than the one being cared for can suffer. Sometimes the spouse or even children can feel ignored due to the amount of time required to care for the patient. Personality changes often occur in the patients, caregivers or other family members and these changes can add stress to the situation.

Caregivers are in a constant state of worry about the patient's condition. They worry about their own health and the health of other s around them. They worry that someone else will not do as good a job as them in caring for their loved one. According to the Craig Hospital these are the key issues that need to be addressed in order to care for the caregiver. Support groups social workers and respite care are several solutions that may help to reduce stress on the caregiver. Counseling can also help to alleviate some of these issues.

There are many significant differences between caring for someone at home and working in a facility. At the facility there are a large number of people who can step in and take over when the work gets too hectic or special situations arise. The home caregiver is often alone; having to deal with whatever comes up and a potentially increasing workload as the patient grows more unable to care for themselves. They may have one or two people who can step in and take over for a short time, but often the caregiver does not rely on them because they do not want to pass on their burden. Sometimes getting relief, even to take care of one's own needs requires a lot of adjustments and inconveniences on everyone's part. It is often easier to just keep trudging on.

The worker in a long-term care facility can go home after their shift is over. In addition, they get holidays off, regular days off and time to sleep when there is no other concern. The home caregiver is never off duty, even when asleep. Christmas, New Years and July Fourth give no relief from the routine. In fact these holidays add more stress to the routine, as there is more to do and fit into an already cramped time schedule. The stress is constant and can seem as if it will never be over.

The health care worker in a facility receives pay and benefits for their job. They gain financial benefits from the services that they provide. They get praise; performance reviews and rewarded for a job well done. The home caregiver often loses financial security, by either having to reduce hours or quit altogether. This means a loss of benefits, retirement savings or other rewards of employment. The home caregiver is not listed in the ranks of he gainfully employed and may now be listed as the unemployed. There is no pat on the back for a job well done no salary increases or promotions, only the daily tasks of care.

The home caregiver must often learn new tasks on their own, for which a professional caregiver receives extensive training. The home caregiver must learn to monitor symptoms, perform tasks such as care for catheters, daily physical therapy as prescribed, administer complex medication regimens, assist with personal care, do housekeeping, provide emotional support, manage problems such as aggression, hallucination, or dementia,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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