Long-Term Nursing Care

Many patients across the country require long-term nursing care, whether due to chronic illness or severe injury. This type of nursing comes in many forms and an assortment of environments. Given the range of patients, it can require a significant breadth of knowledge and skills.

According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), “long-term care involves a variety of services designed to meet a person’s health or personal care needs during a short or long period of time. These services help people live as independently and safely as possible when they can no longer perform everyday activities on their own.”

Many long-term care offerings include senior homes known as assisted living facilities. These provide some independence, but patients also have access to assigned nurses who assist them with various activities.

Examples of Long-Term Situations

Some long-term situations applicable for this type of care include complications with age, transportation of vulnerable groups across town and personal care for older adults and those suffering from ongoing health conditions or disabilities.

The National Institute on Aging also lists the following as the top reasons or contributing factors for long-term care:

  • Age: People are more likely to need care as they age.
  • Gender: Women statistically live longer than men.
  • Marital status: Single people lack a significant other to help them with care needs.
  • Lifestyle: Poor eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle increase risk of health complicatios.
  • Health and family history: Genetics may contribute to long-term care occurrence.

Often, long-term care nurses can work from the patient’s house or residence, which allows them to remain comfortable within their own homes. However, such an option ultimately depends on the individual patient’s needs and whether they can perform some daily activities on their own without assistance.

Differences in Care and Keys to Success

Long-term nursing care roles differ from standard nursing positions because these nurses typically do not spend their days within a hospital or medical office. Instead, they actively work at the patients’ homes or long-term care facilities specializing in older adult care.

According to the NIA, long-term care is necessary for patients who “have a serious, ongoing health condition or disability. The need for long-term care…[often] develops gradually, as people get older and frailer or as an illness or disability gets worse.”

In contrast, nurses in hospitals are typically only required to check patients’ vitals and administer medications or certain types of medical care. As such, long-term care nurses must possess specific characteristics to succeed in their roles.

Two keys to success in long-term nursing roles include being compassionate and patient, notes the Washington State Nurses Association (WSNA). As the WSNA notes, “the elderly and chronically ill desperately need the care and skills of registered nurses and deserve respect and compassion along with gratitude from the community.”

Long-term care nurses must also have a good handle on their medical knowledge in order to think critically and analytically about their patients’ conditions, ensuring all patients receive top-quality care.

Additionally, teamwork is crucial. Nurses must work together if they expect to provide the best care for their patients. The good news is long-term care nurses are not on their own when performing their duties. They consistently have a team of professionals working together to benefit the patient. “They educate patients, nursing assistants, families and staff on matters such as infection control, medications, disease management and more,” notes the WSNA.

Become a Long-Term Care Nurse with a BSN Degree

One way to prepare for a successful nursing practice in the long-term care field is to further your career and earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Those who enroll in the RN to BSN online program at William Paterson University will learn to deliver expert care and compassion to diverse patients in a variety of settings.

This accredited program allows all students to prepare for more significant opportunities in the nursing profession by taking master’s courses embedded in the curriculum. This program prepares students to begin honing their effective long-term nursing care best practices.

For example, the Advanced Health Assessment of the Adult Client course covers the steps to take in order to perform a comprehensive health assessment for adult patients. In the Advanced Pathophysiology course, students may focus on the pathogenesis of major conditions affecting clients across the lifespan.

Overall, students will synthesize knowledge from the humanities, the natural and behavioral sciences and nursing to implement nursing practice decisions for vulnerable groups. Thanks to the accelerated program structure, they can develop all additional knowledge in as few as 10 months.

Graduates of William Paterson University’s program will obtain the foundational knowledge required to pursue career journeys in hospice, critical care, pediatric or surgical areas.

Learn more about William Paterson University’s online RN to BSN program.

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