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Long-Term Care of the Elderly

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*Members of the Health and Public Policy Committee for the 1983-1984 term were Edwin P. Maynard, III, M.D., Chairman; Arthur J. Atkinson, Jr., M.D.; Steven C. Beering, M.D.; Richard G. Farmer, M.D.; Paul F. Griner, M.D.; John R. Hogness, M.D.; Charles E. Lewis, M.D.; Donald E. Olson, M.D.; Malcolm L. Peterson, M.D.; Theodore B. Schwartz, M.D.; and Helen L. Smits, M.D. Richard J. Reitemeier, M.D., and Francis J. Sweeney, Jr., M.D., were ex officio members. This paper was drafted by Jack Ginsburg, staff, and was developed for the Health and Public Policy Committee by the Subcommittee on Aging: Theodore B. Schwartz, M.D., Chairman; Peter E. Dans, M.D.; Russell A. Del Toro, M.D.; Boy Frame, M.D.; Leslie S. Libow, M.D.; and Knight Steel, M.D. This position paper was adopted by the Executive Committee of the Board of Regents on 16 January 1984.

AMERICAN COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Ann Intern Med. 1984;100(5):760-763. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-100-5-760
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Long-term care refers to the medical and support services needed to attain an optimal level of physical, social, and psychological functioning by persons who are frail and dependent due to chronic physical or mental impairments. It includes services to prevent avoidable deterioration of health, to treat acute exacerbations of chronic illness, to maintain the greatest possible independence, and to restore the person to the optimal level of functioning that can be sustained. Long-term care is often mistakenly seen as only nursing home care or home health care. It, nevertheless, includes diagnostic, preventive, therapeutic, rehabilitative, supportive, and maintenance services in both


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