Navigating the World of Long-Term Care: A Guide for Clinicians

what is long term care

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In the vast and varied landscape of healthcare, long-term care is sometimes overlooked. But this sector, dedicated to providing sustained assistance to individuals with chronic illnesses or disabilities, offers a unique and rewarding path for clinicians.

The field not only challenges your medical expertise but calls on your deepest reserves of empathy and understanding. Clinicians who choose this path will find it a journey that’s as rewarding as it is demanding. So, in this SnapCare guide, we’ll give you an inside look into the world of long-term care – from what it really entails, to the opportunities and challenges you’ll face, and the growth that awaits you.

What is Long-Term Care?

Long-term care refers to a range of services designed to meet a person’s health or personal care needs during an extended period of time. These services help people live as independently and safely as possible when they can’t perform everyday activities on their own.

This care can be delivered through:

  • Home-Based Care: Home-based care involves healthcare professionals, such as nurses or therapists, visiting patients in their own homes. This option is often suitable for patients who prefer to receive care in a familiar environment or for those with limited mobility who find it challenging to travel to healthcare facilities. It’s important to note that home health care is distinct from home-based care because it involves more specialized medical services provided at home by healthcare professionals, aimed at treating illness or injury.
  • Community Services (Adult Day Care Centers): Adult daycare centers are community-based facilities that provide care and activities for older adults, typically during daytime hours. These centers cater to older adults who require supervision and social interaction but do not need round-the-clock care.
  • Assisted Living: Assisted living communities are residential settings that offer a balance between independence and support. Residents are usually seniors who require assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) but do not need intensive medical care.
  • Memory Care: Memory care is specifically designed for residents with memory-related conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. It typically involves a secure environment that helps prevent wandering, a common issue among those with dementia.
  • Skilled Nursing Communities: Nursing homes, also known as skilled nursing facilities, provide a continuity of comprehensive, 24/7 patient-centered medical care for individuals with complex healthcare needs. Residents from diverse demographics often have chronic conditions, disabilities, or advanced age, all of which require ongoing nursing care and medical supervision.

Are you ready to begin a fulfilling journey in long-term care? Join SnapCare and make a real difference in the lives of those who need it most. Discover opportunities that align with your skills and aspirations, and become part of a compassionate community dedicated to providing exceptional care.

Click here to explore long-term care jobs with SnapCare and start a rewarding career where your compassion truly shines.

The Role of Long-Term Care Clinicians

As a long-term care clinician, you do much more than just take care of people’s health; you become a steady and reassuring presence in their lives. Let’s break down what this really means:

  • Continuous Medical Care: As a long-term care clinician, you’re responsible for regularly checking on your residents’ health. This means keeping an eye on how they’re doing day-to-day and managing any medical issues they have. You’ll need to adjust their care plans as needed, making sure they’re always getting the right kind of help.
  • Medication Management: A big part of your job is handling medications. This involves not just giving out meds but also making sure each patient gets the correct doses at the right times. You have to be really careful and organized to keep track of everyone’s medication schedules.
  • Coordination of Care: You won’t be working alone; you’ll be part of a team. This means talking and working with other healthcare professionals like doctors, therapists, and specialists to make sure your patients get comprehensive care. It’s all about everyone working together to provide the best possible care for each patient.
  • Support and Education: Another important part of your job is being there for your residents and their families, not just medically, but emotionally too. You’ll be someone they can talk to, who listens and helps them understand the care and treatments they’re receiving. You’ll also provide guidance and support to families, helping them navigate the challenges and changes that come with long-term care.

What Does It Take To Work in Long-Term Care

To work in long-term care, healthcare professionals need a specific set of job requirements and skills. These ensure that they can provide the best possible care to residents who often have complex, long-term health needs. Here’s a breakdown of what’s typically required:

Necessary Skills

Clinical Skills:

  • Patient Assessment and Monitoring: Proficient in conducting thorough physical and mental health evaluations.
  • Medication Management: Skilled in safely administering and managing medications, understanding drug interactions, and monitoring side effects.
  • Chronic Condition Management: Capable of managing and treating long-term health issues, such as heart disease, diabetes, or arthritis.
  • Disease-Specific Knowledge: Well-versed in conditions prevalent in long-term care settings, like dementia, Alzheimer’s, or mobility challenges.
  • Fall Prevention and Mobility Assistance: Adept in implementing strategies to prevent falls and enhance mobility of residents, ensuring their safety and independence.
  • Infection Control: Experienced in executing infection prevention and control measures to safeguard the health of residents and staff.
  • Dementia Care: Knowledgeable in delivering specialized care and support to individuals with dementia, focusing on their comfort and well-being.
  • End of Life Care: Proficient in offering comprehensive end-of-life support that addresses the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of residents and their families during this sensitive time.

Communication and Interpersonal Skills:

  • Effective Communication: Proficient in conveying information clearly and compassionately to residents and families.
  • Active Listening: Skilled at listening to and understanding resident needs and concerns.
  • Cultural Sensitivity: Being aware of and respectful toward diverse cultural backgrounds and health beliefs.
  • Conflict Resolution: Ability to navigate and resolve conflicts or misunderstandings among residents, families, and staff.
  • Empathy and Compassion: Highly capable of showing understanding and compassion to residents, making them feel valued and cared for.
  • Team Collaboration: Effective in working collaboratively with healthcare teams to ensure high-quality care and service delivery.
  • Respect for Privacy and Dignity: Committed to upholding the privacy and dignity of residents, ensuring they are treated with respect at all times.

Organizational Skills:

  • Time Management: Efficient in managing time and tasks, ensuring that resident care is timely and organized.
  • Record Keeping: Accurate in maintaining patient records, medication intake, and activities.
  • Multitasking: Capable of juggling multiple responsibilities simultaneously without compromising patient care quality.
  • EHR knowledge and competency: Proficient in navigating and utilizing Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems to ensure accurate and efficient documentation of care.

Ready to thrive in the world of long-term care jobs? Join SnapCare! Be a valuable part of a compassionate community dedicated to providing exceptional support to those in need. Sign up today and begin your journey in long-term care.

Rewards and Challenges of the Job

Long-term care jobs can be incredibly rewarding, offering the chance to forge meaningful relationships and make a tangible difference in patients’ lives. However, it also presents unique emotional and physical challenges that require resilience, empathy, and a strong commitment to patient care. Understanding these aspects is crucial for anyone considering a career in this field.


  1. Meaningful Relationships: One of the most rewarding aspects is the opportunity to develop deep, meaningful relationships with patients over time. You get to know them and their life stories, which can be incredibly enriching.
  2. Making a Difference: You have the chance to make a significant impact on the quality of life of your patients. Seeing improvements in their health and well-being because of your care is deeply satisfying.
  3. Professional Growth: Long-term care offers diverse learning opportunities. You’ll encounter a wide range of health conditions, which can broaden your clinical knowledge and skills.
  4. Team Collaboration: Working in long-term care often involves being part of a multidisciplinary team, offering a chance for collaborative work and learning from peers in different healthcare specialties.
  5. Job Stability: The demand for long-term care is steadily increasing, providing job security in this field. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of home health aides is projected to grow more than 20% year over year, much faster than the average for other occupations. Similar projections are seen for other long-term care professions like personal care aides, nurse aides, and licensed practical nurses.


  1. Emotional Demands: Dealing with patients who may have chronic illnesses or be in the last stages of their lives can be emotionally challenging. It requires a strong ability to manage personal emotions while providing compassionate care.
  2. Physical Strain: The job can be physically demanding, involving long hours on your feet, assisting with patient mobility, and other physical tasks.
  3. Complex Care Needs: Patients in long-term care often have complex medical and personal care needs, requiring meticulous attention and patience.
  4. Dealing with Loss: Given the nature of long-term care, dealing with patient loss is more frequent, which can be emotionally taxing for caregivers.
  5. Burnout Risk: Due to the high demands of the job, both physically and emotionally, there’s a risk of clinician burnout, making self-care and stress management all the more important.
  6. Navigating Family Dynamics: Working closely with patients’ families can sometimes be challenging, especially when navigating complex emotional situations or communicating about sensitive health issues.

How Much Do Long-Term Care Jobs Pay?

The average annual salaries for long-term care clinicians range from $32,110 for personal care aides to $92,080 for occupational therapists, as shown in the table below. The demand for these professionals is projected to grow rapidly in the coming years, driven by the aging population and increasing need for long-term care services.

Job Title

Average Annual Salary

Salary Range

Registered Nurse (RN)


$73,450 – $108,210

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)


$45,770 – $63,770

Home Health Aide


$27,020 – $42,490

Personal Care Aide


$24,100 – $37,640

Occupational Therapist (OT)


$80,660 – $105,770

Physical Therapist (PT)


$78,190 – $104,540

Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP)


$75,270 – $103,940

*These figures are approximate and can vary based on location, experience, and long-term care facility.

The strong demand for long-term care jobs, coupled with the diverse range of career paths available, makes long-term care a promising field for those seeking a stable and rewarding career.

Transform lives in long-term care with SnapCare! Be part of a dedicated community committed to providing exceptional support. Explore rewarding long-term care jobs tailored to your skills and aspirations. Click here to kickstart your impactful career with SnapCare!

Daily Life of Long-Term Care Clinicians

The daily life of clinicians working in long-term care is varied and centered around providing comprehensive care to their patients. Their day typically involves a mix of medical and personal care tasks. This includes administering medications, monitoring vital signs, and responding to any health changes in patients, many of whom have chronic conditions or age-related health issues. They also spend time documenting patient care, updating medical records, and planning care with other team members.

Beyond these clinical responsibilities, clinicians often engage in meaningful interactions with patients, offering emotional support and ensuring their comfort. They also communicate regularly with families, providing updates about their loved ones’ care.

While the core of a long-term care clinician’s day revolves around medical expertise and comprehensive patient care, their work stretches far beyond administering medications and monitoring vitals. Long-term care jobs offer diverse work-hour options, catering to various lifestyles and preferences.

Long-Term Care Clinician Role

Typical Schedule

Registered Nurse (RN)

Full-time, part-time, 8-hour shifts, 12-hour shifts, rotating shifts (days, evenings, nights, weekends)

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

Full-time, part-time, 8-hour shifts, 12-hour shifts, rotating shifts (days, evenings, nights, weekends)

Home Health Aide

Full-time, part-time, flexible hours, occasional on-call

Personal Care Aide

Part-time, flexible hours, weekdays, weekends

Occupational Therapist (OT)

Full-time, part-time, flexible hours, occasional on-call

Physical Therapist (PT)

Full-time, part-time, flexible hours, occasional on-call

Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP)

Full-time, part-time, flexible hours, occasional on-call

*This information represents general trends and specific schedules may vary significantly depending on the employer, setting, and individual preferences.

This flexibility caters to various lifestyles and preferences, allowing clinicians to balance their professional duties with personal commitments. 

Typical Environment Of Clinicians in Long-Term Care

Clinicians in long-term care, such as nursing homes or assisted living facilities, work in environments that feel more like a comfortable home than a hospital. These places are usually quieter, more relaxed, and have a friendly, community atmosphere. In the U.S., about 1.4 million people live in nursing homes, and over 810,000 in assisted living facilities currently. Clinicians, along with other nurses, therapists, and staff, are part of a team dedicated to resident care.

Their focus is on making sure each resident feels at home and receives the necessary medical care. With around 70% of adults aged 65 and older likely to require long-term care at some point, the goal is to create a warm and welcoming space for long-term residents, providing both medical attention and personal care. This approach is essential as many nursing home residents, nearly 48%, have Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias, requiring specialized care and a nurturing environment.

Embrace a Rewarding Future in Long-Term Care with SnapCare

Choosing a career in long-term care means stepping into a world where your work makes a profound difference daily. Long-term care jobs are a commitment to caring for some of the most vulnerable individuals, requiring not just clinical skills but a heart full of empathy.

If you’re interested in a career in long-term care jobs, SnapCare is here to support your journey. Our platform connects you with flexible job opportunities in long-term care, tailored to your skills and career aspirations. With SnapCare, you gain access to a supportive network and resources designed to help you thrive in this dynamic field.

Join SnapCare today and take a step towards a rewarding career in long-term care.

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