Long-Term Care (LTC) Nurses have to deal with two sets of challenges because of the nature of their work setting.
Those are higher acuity of patients and staffing issues.
The higher acuity of patients means more severe and complex issues.
The medicine has developed and nowadays, patients with chronic conditions have a longer lifespan but require more care.
All healthcare settings have to adapt to this trend.
In long-term care facilities, it leads to the situation in which nurses have to treat more patients with complex medical issues, in a work setting that isn’t acute.
Despite being so challenging, it provides a great chance for nurses to advance their skills.
For example, an LTC nurse may be assigned to treat the patient with complex wound dressing, and she can develop her skills further.
LTC facilities don’t have as many doctors as acute care facilities.
Often, there are only one or two doctors responsible for the patient.
Teams of clinical staff include nurses, nursing assistants, medical technicians, a social worker, nurse case manager, and other healthcare workers.
Sometimes, severe conditions of some patients require complete patient care and the involvement of many healthcare workers.
At the same time, there are fewer nurses available to other patients.
LTC nurses often face under-staffing issues when their colleagues take a vacation or call in sick.
These are the reasons for lower job satisfaction within LTC nurses and a higher turnover rate.
There are ways how facilities can help their nurses to overcome these challenges.
In some facilities, the number and the structure of staff were changed to address the current conditions related to acute.
The previous organizational model was based on numbers and rations, and the new model is based on acuity.
The revised operational models improve patient care and allow the nurses to have adequate support from their colleagues, which will lead to better patient outcomes.