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Based upon your reading in the textbook and the guidelines proposed by the American College of Health Care Administrators, prepare a 3-4 page paper which details the characteristics needed for leadership in the long-term care industry today. Support each identified characteristic with the rationale (reason why this is a critical characteristic for a leader!) and appropriate citations.

1. Introduction to Leadership and Long-Term Care and why it is so important

2. Identification of 3-4 essential characteristics of leadership in Long-Term Care

3. Rationale and citation for each of the 3-4 characteristics selected

4. Conclusion

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Introduction

The US Department of Health & Human Services(2019) defines long-term care as the sum total of all the services that are designed to cater to the personal healthcare needs, typically for a long period of time. It is because of these services that many individuals can live in a safe and independent manner, especially when they are no longer capable of carrying out their daily activities by themselves. Most people who require long-term care are usually those who suffer from a major disability or health condition. Thus, age is not the only factor that characterizes long-term care; a person might need such services after suffering from a stroke or a heart attack.Francesca, Ana, Jérôme and Frits (2011) state that this kind of care can be available to the people at their homes as well as residential care centers.

Leadership in long-term care usually refers to those who have a pivotal role when it comes to fostering the guidelines for quality care. Such leaders undergo many years of training and learn from their experiences, thereby enabling them to meet the demands of the job role. Leadership from the perspective of long-term care is particularly important, since it facilitates the provision of the best possible care to the residents and patients who require such services (Tourangeau, Cranley, Spence Laschinger, &Pachis, 2010). A good leadership is necessary for the appropriate implementation of long-term care and is fundamental for ensuring a positive outcome.

Essential characteristics of leadership in long-term care

Bernie Dana and Olson (2007) argue that the market for healthcare has been changing at a rapid pace, which thereby makes it important for organizations engaged in long-term care to proactively develop highly effective leadership skills and practices.The need for a wide array of services has also surfaced, which indicates the dire need for proficient leadership in order to make it possible for the organizations to thrive and succeed. In this regard, there are some essential characteristics of leadership that are applicable to those involved with long-term care, which have been elaborated as follows -

• The leader understands the nature as well as the purpose of long-term care and adheres to the vision of the organization.As explained by Francesca, Ana, Jérôme and Frits (2011), the development of long-term care is different for different demographics, but one thing is for sure - the demand for this type of care is increasing steadily. The primary purpose of long-term care is to ensure that the elderly and the seriously ill have a chance at living their lives as normally as possible, without the intervention of their family members. A good leader in this case knows what to do in order to ensure that the individuals get the best possible care, while achieving the mission of the organization they are affiliated with.

• Leaders in long-term care should understand that the ultimate goal of long-term care is person-centered care.McCormack, Dewing and McCance (2011) state that in order to make it possible to provide person-centered care, there needs to be a sustainable form of commitment from the long-term care organizations, which indicates that the leaders must be aware of the available facilities, teams and other factors that are essential to realizing the goal. In such a case, the leaders are characterized by the ability to understand the need for person-centered moments, which are a reflection of the culture that forms part of the organization and its many teams.

• The leaders should also have an understanding of the importance that the workplace environment has in determining the quality of care and life for the residents.Since long-term care is essentially a field that is service based, it calls for a leadership style that encompasses effective skills and talents to understand the needs of the organization and the staff members. A study conducted by McHugh, Kutney-Lee, Cimiotti, Sloane and Aiken (2011) concluded that nurses and other caregivers are more likely to quit if the work environment is poor, as it leads to massive levels of dissatisfaction. This can also be further linked to the satisfaction that the patients would experience regarding the level of care that is being meted out to them. In other words, the environment of the workplace in long-term care institutions is of utmost importance as it not only dictates the level of performance of the caregivers, but also the quality of care that the residents receive. Long-term care thus requires leaders who are characterized with the ability to maintain a balanced workplace that keeps the nurses and other care providers satisfied, while ensuring that the patients have access to a quality life.

• Another essential characteristic of leadership in long-term care is that of the ability to empower the staff while gaining and maintaining their own authority. In other words, the leader in a long-term care facility should possess the capacity to develop the staff in such a way that they can function effectively even in his or her absence. In this case, the leaders direct and coach the staff members accordingly, explaining to the staff members the essentials required to achieve the long-term care goals and to adhere to the established protocols.

The staff also needs to be coached if they are to specialize in a particular skill or area of care, and thus, they need a considerable amount of support from their leaders to help shape their decision-making capabilities and other responsibilities such as problem-solving. The proficiency of the group also has a major role to play in helping the leader determine, which responsibilities to delegate to whom, and thus, a good leader in long-term care knows how to recognize these qualities.

Conclusion

Leadership in long-term care is therefore characterized by versatility and the ability to manage the institutions in such a manner that would benefit both the caregiver and the individuals who need their services. Since the demand for long-term care is steadily increasing due to the ageing population in many parts of the world, the leaders need to be well-equipped to manage and lead the organizations while providing quality care to the individuals.

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