A Care Plan is important and helpful when you start having to explain to others how best to support your elder. If other family members offer help while you’re elsewhere *yay*, it saves you having to explain over again what to do. The care plan also expresses the current preferences of the person needing extra care.
When do you need a Care Plan?
A Care Plan is essential when the older adult is vulnerable and unable to look after themselves without your support. If you’re the primary carer, should you break an arm ice skating and be taken to A&E, you’ll need the reassurance that whoever steps in to give emergency care to your elder will know what to do.
What’s in it?
In the beginning, the Care Plan will be short and light on information. Perhaps it will be just a page long, especially if you don’t need care worker support. When Marj first came to live with us, she was able to walk between houses, stroll to the pub or visit the supermarket with help. She could prepare her own meals and drinks etc. The information shared was limited to the phone numbers to contact us on while we were at work or other essentials like medicine dosages.
Slowly, over the years, Marj came to need our help more and more. Accordingly, her Care Plan has lengthened to detail her preferences and how her quality of life is sustained.
While living with us, Marj has directed how she’d prefer to be supported and spend her day. Occasionally we’re nudged by independent experts to help us ‘transition’ to new practises. We’ve had to make changes to keep Marj safe, e.g. use of specialist ‘moving and handling’ equipment.
How do you write one?
The Care Plan is your own guide, so can be in any format. I just googled it and can’t find a non-medical version at first glance (feel free to send one to me if you’ve got a good one). So I’ve attached the format I’ve used below. I made it up myself and have added to it over the years. It’s done the job and all our care workers have found it helpful. If you use a Domiciliary Care Agency, they’ll certainly ask you for a copy or help to draft one.
I’ve listed everything you may possibly need to detail, delete anything that is not relevant to you. The red text is for guidance and should be deleted when you’re ready. Feel free to download and adjust anything else – it is now YOURS.
Give precise guidance on how your elder likes their cup of tea :-).
A Care Plan is particularly effective when used with a Care ‘Log Book’. Click here for more help in getting organised and saving time.
Update 19/1/20. MyCareMatters.org have a one page summary that I love if you need a short version. It’s especially useful for hospital admissions.
If all this sounds lacking in heart, it’s because the Care Plan is a reference document for everyone, including professionals. If you’re a family member then of course you will want to add a dollop of love.
As time’s ticked by, Marj’s ‘needs have been met’ (as the professionals would say). Despite this, Marj has found less and less reason to laugh. However, I can guarantee at least one daily giggle. When I check Marj last thing, I wrap my arms around her, snuggle into her neck and kiss her noisily. That always gets a peal of laughter and a kiss and a hug back. It’s not in the Care Plan but it’s important to us both.
Happy Mother’s Day to all mums.