Quality care is often considered from a medical perspective, with the focus on providing the best possible medical services. This is, of course, an essential element of the services provided in long-term care.
But at a time when there’s a greater push for community care over nursing and rehabilitation centers, it’s worth rethinking what quality means to the residents themselves. After 20-plus years of talking to them, some general themes are clear.
Which features are most important to a particular resident depends to a significant degree on which of the four categories they fall into: short-term rehab (STR), long-term care (LTC), end of life (EOL), or relatively young with concurrent substance abuse and/or mental health problems (SAMI). While the categories aren’t mutually exclusive, I find them a helpful framework in considering resident needs.
Moreover, while most nursing homes have residents from each category, some facilities have a larger proportion of one population over another. For example, tallying data from LTCFocus.org shows that in 2019 the average U.S. facility had almost 12% of its population with a diagnosis of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, but some facilities had none and some had over 95% of their residents with these diagnoses.
Facilities should therefore consider their population makeup to better address their particular mix of residents.
All residents in each category require their basic needs met. As we learned in grade school, this means food, clothing and shelter. In a nursing home setting, we can include assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs).