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Long-Term Care (LTC)

Definition:  A set of health care, personal care and social services required by persons who have lost, or never acquired, some degree of functional capacity (e.g., the chronically ill, aged, disabled, or retarded) in an institution or at home, on a long-term basis.

The term is often used more narrowly to refer only to long-term institutional care such as that provided in nursing homes, homes for the retarded and mental hospitals.

Long-term care can be provided at home, in the community, or in various types of facilities, including nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Most long-term care is custodial care.

Medicare doesn't pay for this type of care if this is the only kind of care a person needs.

However, Medicaid and long-term care insurance plans do provide some coverage for long-term care.

Ambulatory services such home health care, which can also be provided on a long-term basis, are seen as alternatives to long-term institutional care.

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