Long-term care is generally provided along a continuum of care, from minor supportive services such as assistance with the basic instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs) to extensive nursing and therapeutic services, depending upon the individual’s condition and needs at a particular time.
These services are provided in two ways:
Scheduled: Activities that can be performed on a regular schedule at particular times of the day. For example, a person may lose the ability to dress themselves. If scheduled visits are arranged to give assistance with that single ADL, they can function adequately during the remainder of the day with minimum support system at home.
On-Demand: Activities that must be taken care of on demand. As a chronic condition progresses a person will need help in performing activities of daily living when they require assistance at any time during the day. Scheduled visits will not be enough to provide adequate care. The individual may require long-term care in a setting other than the home because they will need help throughout the day.
Ideally, individuals needing LTC would receive an appropriate mix of services in an environment that permits maximum independence.
This scheduled versus on demand distinction is extremely important considering the cost of care and the wide variety of services available.