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Complex Care

The Comprehensive Guide

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Complex care for the elderly

Quick summary

  • Complex care, as the name suggests, refers to caring for people with specific conditions – including progressive illnesses and disabilities.
  • Those with complex needs require a higher degree of care – in any setting.
  • There are various conditions which can be classed as complex – including arthritis, diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

Complex care demands a high degree of training and expertise and covers a broad range of treatments. These can be related to many of the UK’s most common progressive and chronic conditions, covering medical, emotional and physical care.

With so many types of care falling under the complex care banner, it can be difficult to identify the right care professional or treatment programme, particularly for full-time live-in care and support.

This guide will take you through the individual elements of complex care and help you understand and decide which treatment plan is right for your family.

What is complex care?

Complex care is ongoing care for patients living with significant, long-term health issues which make it incredibly hard for them to look after themselves. This is often due to longstanding physical or mental health ailments, such as disability or chronic illness.

Any ongoing treatment taking place outside of hospital care but requiring a high degree of expert support can be called ‘complex care’.

It can take place in a number of locations, but primarily in:

Complex care is often associated with hospital discharge, in the long and short-term. Live-in care can be one solution for returning home after a hospital stay.

When someone leaves hospital following a stay they’ll be assessed to figure out what kind of support or care they may need – if the staff feel it’s appropriate. From here, other considerations will be made about their financial situation and what type of continuing care they may need.

Age UK can help explain the different forms of continuing care following a hospital stay. If you’re not eligible or wish to consider alternative options – live-in care can provide a solution.

With the level of expertise required to become a proficient live-in carer, it can be difficult for families to find experienced, accredited professionals to fit their loved-one’s unique needs.

This makes access to a curated database of qualified local carers, such as Elder’s, an extremely important service. It helps older people to recover in the comfort of their own homes.

We believe that access to qualified home carers at all stages of the treatment journey is pivotal in creating a safe, comfortable environment that allows elderly patients and their relatives to live their lives to the fullest.

Conditions such as Arthritis, COPD or CHD may require hospital stays for treatments and surgeries to make living with the conditions easier. At Elder, we can provide complex care support for these conditions, and others, to help with recovery and assistance following hospital stays. Whether this is support with personal care or simply day-to-day errands.

Supporting families through complex care

Needing complex care can be one of the toughest and most daunting experiences an older person and their family can go through. That’s why our mission has always been to offer specialist, empathetic support from caring professionals to help make any patient’s life happier and healthier wherever we can.

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Don’t face complex care alone

Watching someone we love deal with long-term illness or disability is tough. At Elder, we do everything we can to make providing your loved ones with the best care easy and straightforward, because no family should have to face this alone.

For elderly people with complex and progressive medical conditions and disabilities, even just the basic tasks of everyday life can present serious and dangerous daily challenges. This is why our live-in care professionals provide a vital relief service to patients receiving ongoing care outside of hospital treatment.

Elder live-in carers can act as an extension of the support offered by the healthcare system and the individual’s own family, especially where the individual may not have enough of these resources at their disposal to support their needs.

Duties of a live-in carer

For thousands of people across the country, a live-in carer acts as a bridge between their condition and living their normal, everyday lives. They allow people with serious and deteriorating health issues to keep their independence and build a sense of normality for as long as possible.

Live-in carers can help your loved-ones with day-to-day tasks such as:

Shopping for essentials such as clothing and groceries

Preparing and cooking meals

Cleaning the house

Personal care and hygiene

Emotional Support and companionship

Maintaining relationships with family and the community

At Elder, we have a variety of care plans which can cover the different and changing needs of your loved one. Our pricing structure is completely transparent and takes in account individual needs and conditions.

With such a wide range of responsibilities, finding the right person to guide a family member through the ideal care plan can be both daunting and time consuming. This is where the Elder carer database comes in.

What conditions come under complex care?

Alzheimer’s care

The most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, affects over 520,000 people living in the UK.

Alzheimer’s can affect various parts of the brain, but the primary symptom is memory loss. It’s a progressive condition and for the time being there is no cure.

With the right care and support in place, people living with Alzheimer’s can live a happy and fulfilling life for a long time. Live-in care provides a solution which allows those with Alzheimer’s to stay at home with familiar comforts – something that can be key in helping them live with their condition.

For tailored Alzheimer’s care, Elder can provide various different care plan options.

Arthritis care

The onset and progression of serious arthritis can make a huge number of the day-to-day tasks we take for granted incredibly difficult. As osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis take hold, joint pain and lack of mobility can render shopping, housework and cooking almost impossible.

With more than 10 million Brits suffering from arthritis or related joint problems, this represents a massive nationwide problem.

While there is no known cure for any form of the disease, our complex care staff offer an important support structure to arthritis sufferers across the UK.

Specialist arthritis carers provide support with all of the household tasks mentioned above, while also providing help with bathing, dressing and toilet use, should the patient have more serious mobility issues.

If you or your loved one is living with Arthritis, Elder offer tailored care to support this.

COPD care

The term chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) covers a range of progressive lung diseases which includes emphysema, refractory asthma and chronic bronchitis.

As there is currently no outright cure for any of these conditions, management of the condition and its symptoms is important to slowing progression and providing a longer, happier life.

There are a number of medication and inhaler treatments that can slow or stop the deterioration of these conditions, while a small number of patients may benefit from surgery.

In both cases, COPD-trained care professionals play a vital role in helping to manage the condition and provide support for patients living with the condition or recovering from surgery.

Elder can help with tailored COPD care, assisting with personal care, mobility and recovery plans.

Dementia care

Dementia refers to a collection of symptoms that are caused by different conditions, such as vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Those with dementia can continue to live a fulfilling life with the right support – which live-in care aims to provide.

Live-in care offers those with dementia a solution that lets them remain at home, in a comforting environment whilst still receiving the necessary support with daily tasks and personal care.

A dementia diagnosis can be a worrying time. However, at Elder we’re here to support and answer your questions on dementia care.

Diabetes care

Diabetes is an increasingly common condition, which can either mean a total inability of the pancreas to produce insulin (Type 1) or simply an inability to produce enough insulin to turn glucose into energy (Type 2).

Most diabetics use regular insulin shots to control their condition, usually with insulin pens. But administering injections can be more difficult for patients with mobility issues such as older people and those with disabilities. A lack of insulin can lead to tiredness, weight loss and even seizures if not treated properly.

The risks of mismanaging diabetes long-term can also be much more serious and can cause any of the following side effects:

As a result, complex care management is an essential part of daily life for thousands of diabetics across the UK. Elder diabetes care professionals can help those living with diabetes with day-to-day tasks like meal preparation to make it easier to live with their condition.

Heart disease care

Coronary heart disease and all related conditions that fall under its umbrella are some of the most common complex care conditions in the UK.

These health issues can affect anyone, from elderly patients with a history of poor dietary habits or tobacco consumption, all the way down to children born with congenital heart problems.

Heart disease care can help prevent heart attacks and other serious problems before they happen through concerted ongoing health management programmes.

Elder carers help patients follow diet plans to manage cholesterol intake, provide support with quitting smoking and encouraging exercise and tailor care programmes to fit the individual patient’s needs.

Motor neurone disease care

Motor neurone disease, also known as ALS, is a progressive disease – meaning the physical symptoms intensify over time – while also increasing the emotional and financial pressures on the patient and their families.

The earliest and most noticeable signs of Motor Neurone Disease (MND), such as extreme fatigue, can impact a patient’s ability to complete basic household tasks in the very early stages of their condition.

An Elder care plan for motor neurone disease empowers the patient to enjoy their life and keep as much independence as possible while also receiving valuable support with tasks such as cooking, cleaning and shopping.

In the period before any hospital treatment is needed, providing a tailored and consistent complex care plan is essential for ensuring that the person remains as comfortable as possible for as long as possible. That is why each of our care plans are designed to fit the individual person and give them the best support as their condition progresses.

Multiple sclerosis care

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is another progressive condition which can affect the brain and spinal cord and intensifies over time, often leading to vision and mobility issues and, at worst, permanent physical disability.

This makes professional, empathetic management of the condition between diagnosis and hospital care vital in ensuring a patient enjoys as full and happy a life as possible.

MS can also take a serious toll on a patient’s family and closest loved-ones, as their increasing care demands put greater physical and emotional strain on those around them.

MS care staff understand this and provide detailed care plans which help ease the pressure on families and patients alike, helping with day-to-day care as well as household chores.

Osteoporosis care

The progression of osteoporosis, a degenerative condition which weakens the bones, can be life-changing for sufferers. More than 3 million people suffer with osteoporosis nationwide, while around half-a-million receive hospital treatment for related injuries every year.

It can have major consequences for older people as it comes with a greater risk of falls, which in turn leads to a greater likelihood of broken bones and serious injury.

Live-in complex care provides a huge relief for older people suffering from osteoporosis and their families. Elder care staff offer support with mobility, along with help with shopping, cooking and other household tasks.

Our specialist carers help sufferers keep out of harm’s way, while also helping them retain their independence.

Stroke care

Someone in the UK suffers a stroke roughly once every five minutes.

A stroke can have serious long-term or permanent impacts on both a sufferer’s physical and mental capabilities. Patients can experience a range of physical and neurological effects. This can include anything from loss of feeling or movement in the face and limbs to verbal communication problems or vision loss.

Stroke recovery care can take various forms depending on the severity of the condition, so a high degree of personalisation is needed for it to be truly effective.

Elder’s database of complex care specialists features UK-wide care professionals with stroke care experience, who can help your loved-ones deal with any of the limitations caused by this condition.

Creating a complex care plan

Producing a detailed, accessible care plan is an essential part of complex care. Individual patients require different care plans depending on their health issue, its symptoms/side effects and the stage of their illness.

In addition, those closest to them deserve to understand and be able to follow the process and rationale behind their care programme. We produce full tailored care plans to fit individual patient circumstances.

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Care appraisal

We carry out a care appraisal which will include things such as:

  1. Looking at who your loved one is – their life, career, personality and social life as well as their basic information and the activities they enjoy
  2. Considering their specific care needs and medical conditions – including their medication, behaviour and preferences
  3. All about your loved one’s home – whether they have pets, if they smoke and if they have internet, for example

Elder care pricing begins at £895, with bespoke programmes to fit the unique needs of patients, their families and loved ones.

Request a consultation with one of our specialist care advisors today and learn more about our custom plans.

Identifying a carer

Live-in care of any kind is an incredibly specialised job, which becomes even more so when the patient in question needs physical, medical and emotional support related to a serious illness.

That’s why we at Elder provide only the very best live-in carers in the UK. We log all accredited specialised skills and build full personal and professional profiles for each of them.

You can therefore rest assured that the ideal carer for your family’s individual circumstances is waiting for you, you just need to get in touch to find them.

Answering your questions

The idea of taking on a full-time care professional can be a daunting one, particularly for a loved one with a serious illness or disability.

At Elder, we understand this as well as anyone, which is why we will take you through a full consultation process prior to any commitment, building out a care plan before identifying a carer to fit your precise needs.

If your loved-ones are suffering from any of the conditions mentioned in this guide and you believe that our complex care services could help your family or loved-ones please get in touch with a member of our care team.

If you have any more questions at all about complex care generally or want to learn about becoming one of our registered carers, then you can chat online with a member of our team.

Frequently asked questions

What is complex care?

Complex care refers to the care needed by people with complex health conditions. Generally, these conditions can be defined as progressive, long-term and serious medical issues. Complex care tailors support directly to the needs of the individual – both in terms of their treatment and support.

What is a complex health condition?

A complex health condition is generally one that is progressive, long term, chronic or needs additional support. Complex conditions that we care for include:

1.        Alzheimer’s
2.        Arthritis
3.        COPD
4.        Dementia
5.        Diabetes
6.        Heart disease
7.        Motor neurone disease
8.        Multiple sclerosis
9.        Osteoporosis
10.      Stroke

What is a complex care nurse?

A complex care nurse is different from a complex carer. A complex care nurse is specifically trained in individual complex conditions and will be able to provide treatment and administer medication. They will usually care for patients in hospital and may be able to visit homes following hospital terms.
Complex carers are able to provide support on treatment plans and encourage the use of prescribed medication but their main role is to support the day-to-day needs of the care-recipient enabling them to live a full life. 

Learn more about complex care

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