When do you need a Care Plan?
You need a Care Plan when you start needing to explain to other people, family members or otherwise, how to support your elder parent, spouse or friend. If other family members kindly offer help while you are at work or looking after the kids, it saves you having to explain what to do, where to find what they need and the changing preferences of the person needing extra care.
A Care Plan is essential when the older adult is vulnerable and unable to look after themselves without a lot of support from you and/or anyone else. If you are the primary carer, should you break an arm ice skating and be taken to A&E, you will need the reassurance of knowing that whoever steps in to give emergency care to your elder will know what to do.
What is in a Care Plan?
In the beginning the Care Plan will be very short and light on information, maybe just a page long, especially if you don’t need care workers. 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, prepare her own meals and drinks etc. The Care Plan was limited to the phone numbers to contact us on while we were at work and other critical things like medicine dosages.
Slowly, over the years, Marj came to need our help more and more. So slowly over the years, her Care Plan has lengthened as it details how her individual quality of life is sustained and what her individual preferences are.
Throughout her residence with us, Marj has directed how she would prefer to be supported and spend her day. Only occasionally have nudges from independent experts been needed, to help ‘transition’ to helpful new practises that support her wish to live on her own (e.g. use of specialist ‘moving and handling’ equipment).
How do you write a Care Plan?
The Care Plan is your own guide, so can be in any format. I just googled ‘Care Plan’ 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 in the way back and have added to it over the years. It’s done the job and our care workers have found it helpful. In any case, if you use a Domiciliary Care Agency, they will certainly ask you for a Care Plan or help in drafting one.
I have listed everything you may possibly need to detail, but of course delete anything that is not relevant to you. The red copy is for guidance and should be deleted when you’re ready. Feel free to adjust anything else – it is now YOURS.
A Care Plan is particularly effective when used with a Care ‘Log Book’. Click here to go to my blog post #3 for other help in getting organised and saving time.
If all this sounds lacking in heart, it’s because the Care Plan is a reference document for everyone, including professionals. If you are a family member then of course you will want to add a dollop of love.
For example, as time has ticked by, while Marj’s ‘needs have been met’ (as the professionals would say), Marj has found less and less reason to laugh. However, I am proud to say 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 muchly and 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.
Happy Mother’s Day to my mum, to Marj and to all other mums,