Long Term Care Planning: Specialty Community-Based Long Term Care

We were invited to write a series of brief articles for the monthly newsletter of our friends at MDK Insurance Services, describing the continuum of long term care, and how to navigate oneself through it. You can sign up for the newsletter on their website, and each month we provide a copy of the article here as well. Please share the information with someone you know who is thinking ahead about how to plan for (and pay for) their own or a loved one’s long term care.

Volume VII: Specialty community-based long term care

Last month’s issue provided an overview of the basic types of long term care facilities. Here we review a few models of specialty care that are available in the community.

There are several types of specialty Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) in California. A Distinct Part/SNF (DP/SNF) is a hospital-based unit, rather than a freestanding facility. Intermediate Care Facilities (ICFs) provide inpatient care to those who need nursing and supportive services, but who don’t require continuous skilled nursing care.

A Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) is a configuration in which Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Skilled Nursing Facility services are provided on one campus. A resident contracts for care regardless of changing needs, usually for their lifetime. Most CCRCs have a large entrance fee, ranging anywhere from $100,000 to $1 million. CCRCs are regulated by California’s Department of Social Services Continuing Care Contracts Branch.

Some residential care facilities offer specialized services for people with dementia. Dementia Care can be provided within a freestanding facility, or as a separate unit within an Assisted Living facility. Staff are trained to work effectively with people with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia, and activity programs are tailored to the special needs of the residents. Buildings have secured perimeters to prevent unsafe wandering.

Hospice Care provides comfort and support to patients with terminal illness that is not responding to cure-oriented treatment. Hospice may be provided within the home or in a facility setting, with the goal of maximizing quality of life through effective symptom and pain management. Services provided by an interdisciplinary team address the emotional, spiritual, and social impact of the illness upon the patient and their family.