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What does a Long-Term Care Nurse do?

By Nat Robinson
Updated: Feb 23, 2024

A long-term care nurse provides nursing care to individuals who have been sick or disabled for an extended amount of time. In many cases, this type of nurse will dedicate his or her services to the elderly. Some work with individuals of varying ages who need medical care due to an ongoing illness. This type of nurse may work in any medical facility providing extended care to sick people, which may include a nursing homes or assisted living facilities. In order to become a long-term care nurse, an individual will be required to graduate from an accredited nursing program and become licensed to practice as a nurse.

The duties of a long-term care nurse will generally depend on the needs of the patient. Sometimes, a nurse will assist individuals with a chronic illness. A chronic illness is one that is long lasting. The individual may not be sick enough to remain in a hospital, but still needs the care of a medical professional. When providing care on an outpatient basis, the nurse may visit the patient in his or her home and provide varying degrees of medical assistance.

In many cases, a long-term care nurse may work in an assisted living facility. The facility may be housed with patients who are unable to live entirely alone due to age or health-related circumstances. At the same time, these individuals do not need constant medical care or direct supervision either. Long-term care nurses working in this environment may deliver medications and ensure that patients are taking them as prescribed. He or she may also check the resident's vital signs, such as their blood pressure and oxygen levels periodically.

If a long-term care nurse works in a nursing home, he or she may assist elderly patients with every activity involved with daily living. Sometimes, geriatric nurses hold this position. The nurse may assist with bathing duties, feeding the patients, as well as getting them dressed. He or she may also provide wound care, including dressing changes. The nurse will generally be the person responsible for administering medications, which may include intravenous medicines.

Many patients with ongoing illnesses will receive physical therapy as part of his or her daily treatment. Physical therapy is commonly given to patients to ensure they retain functionality in the joints and muscles. Many sick and disabled individuals are not able to move around as much as they used to. A long-term care nurse may assist patients with physical therapy exercises. As a trained health care professional, who is familiar with the limitations of his or her patient, the nurse will be able to incorporate exercises that are safe and beneficial to the health of the patient.

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Discussion Comments
By anon80662 — On Apr 28, 2010

Legally how many patients can a nurse medicate in a Long Term Care Facility? Is it 40?

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