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Family-based Care or Nursing Home Care in the Face of Dementia - Essay Example

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The reporter states that it is no simple matter to determine how best to take care of an individual who is suffering from dementia. The two main alternatives consist of whether the individual is cared for through family-based care or through a nursing home…
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Family-based Care or Nursing Home Care in the Face of Dementia
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Outline: Introduction Economical cost of family-based care Emotional cost of family-based care Conclusion Works Cited Family-based Care or Nursing Home Care in the Face of Dementia
It is no simple matter to determine how best to take care of an individual who is suffering from dementia. The two main alternatives consist of whether the individual is cared for through family-based care or through a nursing home. There are two important aspects when it comes to deciding between these alternative. The first is the financial cost and the second is the emotional costs on those involved. Both in terms of the emotional and the physical cost of caring for dementia patients, it is often better that dementia patients, particularly those suffering severely from the disease, are cared for through nursing home care rather than family-based care.
Dementia is a collective term used to refer to a range of diseases that involve the deterioration of cognitive function over time. For those suffering dementia, their quality of life can substantially decrease, and they quickly become dependent on others to help them with even their most basic needs. The prevalence of dementia increases dramatically with age, as a consequence the number of people suffering from dementia at a given time is likely to rise as our population in general ages. As a consequence of this, the government is increasingly interested in determining what method of care is of lower cost.
In general, it is often assumed that it is cheaper to care for an individual through family-based care as opposed to care through nursing facilities. However, this does not take into account costs that are incurred by family members in terms of finances or time. This is an important factor, as dementia patients frequently require full time care, thus when dementia patients are being cared for through family-based care it is likely that at least one member of the family has reduced hours at work compared to under normal circumstances. When labor and costs are taken into account, studies have shown that for patients with severe levels of dependence it was more economically viable for them to be cared for through nursing home care than through family-based care . Thus, despite the financial costs of nursing home care, it is still equal in cost, or cheaper than family-based care.
Financial cost is not the only consideration in regards to deciding the best type of care for those suffering dementia. Dementia is progressive and destroys mental function. When it is a family member or loved one that this is occurring to, the process can be very painful to watch and can cause feelings of helplessness and mental trauma. There are many reports of caregivers of dementia patients suffering from severe depression as a consequence of watching the progression of the disease . As a consequence caring for an individual with dementia exerts significant mental pressure on those responsible.
How does one determine what to choose when taking care of a family member with dementia? Placing a mother, a father, or any relative in a nursing home incites the sensation of injustice and abandonment. Yet, the costs of taking care of a dementia patient at home are considerable, especially as the disease progresses. Not only are the financial costs considerable, but the emotional toll can be severe. Taking care of an individual with dementia is a social issue that is increasing in prevalence as the population ages, and those who face the decision with family members or relatives need to take all the aspects into consideration to ensure they make a fully informed decision.
Works Cited
Chiu, L., Tang, K.Y., Liu, Y.H., Shyu, W.C., and Chang, T.P. "Cost comparisons between family based care and nursing home care for dementia", Journal of Advanced Nursing 29.4, (1999) pp. 1005-12.
Eisdorfer, C., Czaja, S.J., Loewenstein, D.A., Rubert, M.P., Argüelles, S., Mitrani, V.B., and Szapocznik, J. "The effect of a family therapy and technology-based intervention on caregiver depression", The Gerontologist 43.4, (2003) 521.
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