How Short-Term Nursing Care & Long-Term Nursing Care Differ

If your doctor has recommended nursing care for a loved one, you need to find out if they are suggesting short-term care or long-term care. The goals and purposes of short-term nursing care and long-term nursing care are different. Understanding these goals will help you figure out what type of care your loved one needs and what type of goals you are focusing on.

Short-Term Care

Short-term nursing care is designed to be a temporary situation. Temporary could be anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. The end of temporary care is usually defined by the achievement of specific health goals.

With short-term care, the care that your loved one gets will be focused on achieving very specific health goals that will improve your loved one's health and get them in a position where they can go home again. In addition to providing medical care and monitoring, temporary care is often highly focused on both physical and occupational therapy

The purpose of the therapy is to help get back any function that one lost. In some cases, physical therapy is focused on reducing pain and building strength in your body.

While receiving temporary care, the nursing staff will help with mobility issues, hygiene issues, and eating as necessary. The goal is to get your loved one to the point where they don't need assistance from the nurse anymore with these tasks.

Long-Term Care

Long-term care has very different goals than short-term care. Long-term nursing care is designed to assist someone who has a disease or disability that leaves your loved one unable to get back to their previous physical state, even with the best of care.

Long-term care is often used for conditions such as dementia or chronic medical diseases like Parkinson's. Long-term care is about taking care of all your loved one's medical needs, as well as their hygiene and mobility needs. Both physical and occupational therapy may be included, but the goal is not to get the patient ready to leave the care facility; instead, the goal is to help the patient be as comfortable as possible.

With long-term care, the focus is on creating a home-like environment, as this is your loved one's permanent living solution. Fun social activities are planned for the residents. Services are offered such as beauty care and transportation to help enhance resident's life. The focus is on taking care of your loved one's whole life.

If your loved one's doctor suggests nursing care, make sure you know if they are suggesting short-term nursing care or long-term care, as the goals and length of both types of care are very different.