Complex care provides targeted health care to clients with multiple conditions, disabilities, and chronic illnesses. Also referred to as ‘long-term’ or ‘continuing’ care, complex care is a growing priority in Canada, where healthcare systems are faced with the chronic conditions of an aging population. In Alberta, the NDP government campaigned on a promise to create over 2,000 new long-term care and dementia beds, renewing their commitment just last month.

For health professionals, complex care holds many career options, offering rewarding and diversified work that prioritizes the needs of clients.

Are you curious about working in complex care? Read on to find out more!

Complex Carers Have a Diverse Client List

A 2015 study determined four factors that qualify clients for complex care: difficult prognoses, socioeconomic challenges, mental health disorders, and difficult behaviour. Beyond medical complexity itself—often related to chronic or ‘discordant’ illnesses—professionals highlight misinformation, affordability, addiction, and medical anxieties among other important factors that ‘complicate’ client treatment. With these factors in play, complex care workers assist clients with all manner of client needs, from spinal injuries and brain damage to epilepsy and learning disabilities.

Complex care cases typically require multiple medications, frequent emergency visits, and day-to-day medical technologies like feeding or oxygen tubes. While complex care is more common for elderly clients, it is a crucial treatment option for all ages—and an essential part of pediatric medicine. Throughout a career in healthcare, complex care workers provide diverse health services, assisting clients with all medical needs and backgrounds.

Complex Care Means Flexible Work in a Variety of Environments

Complex care also presents a variety of work environments for carers. While hospital and medical centers offer specialized options for chronic conditions, complex care is increasingly moving into client residences. When given the option, clients typically prefer to manage a complex condition in the comfort of their homes, which offer added convenience and familiarity. Working in client residences, complex carers often assist with wound dressings, injuries, chronic illnesses, and in-home medical technologies.

These home care options allow for a flexible health care aide career. While visiting clients, carers can sometimes choose their hours, providing added convenience to an already gratifying career.

Complex carers can reinforce the confidence and autonomy of clients with chronic illnesses

Complex carers can reinforce the confidence and autonomy of clients with chronic illnesses

Complex Care Leads to a Rewarding Health Care Aide Career

Complex carers report a high level of job satisfaction. With an increasing need for chronic health services, carers have many options for long-term professional growth. Amassing experience and qualifications, carers multiply their skills and seize new opportunities.

In addition, on a day-to-day basis, few professions match the personal fulfillment of complex care work. Carers provide essential health services to those most in need, alleviating the physical and mental strain of the chronic illness. While working in continuing care, health professionals forge deep bonds with clients and their families. These working friendships allow carers to invest themselves fully in their work, tracking their clients’ well-being throughout their careers. For students in healthcare courses, complex care might be the perfect career focus.

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