Lots of things in life work better when you have a plan – and your care as an elderly person is no exception.
Care plans (or support plans) are created for individuals who need support; whether it’s simple assistance with day-to-day tasks and support taking medication, all the way to round-the-clock supervision and ongoing medical care.
A care and support plan will clearly lay out the level of support a person needs, how the support will be given, what the aims and goals of the care are and any other necessary details. So, to learn more about care plans and what they contain, read on…
Why are care plans important?
Care plans are extremely important – and every person receiving care, whether that’s at-home care or a care home, should have one.
Not only do care plans give the individual goals, aims and structure for their care, but they also give them more independence, helping them to retain as much control as possible over their life and continue to do the things they love and enjoy.
Another benefit of support plans is that they help the person’s family members and loved ones to better understand their care needs, health conditions and how they can offer additional support.
The support planning process is essential to ensure that the care seeker consistently receives the right level of care and that their personal requirements and preferences are known by any staff in charge of their care.
Making a care plan
To get your care plan, you’ll need to get in touch with the social services department at your local council to arrange a needs assessment.
A needs assessment will look at your unique care requirements and the level of support you need, as well as the type of care home that would best suit you.
This will then be written up into a care plan, which can take a couple of weeks. You should have a say in what goes into your it so don’t be afraid to voice your own personal wishes for your care, no matter how big or small.
You can also get a support plan if you are caring for someone else – you’ll have to do a separate assessment, known as a carer’s assessment, from your local authority.
What should be included in a care plan?
As care plans are tailor made for the individual, no two should be the same. However, there are some common things that tend to be included in a care plan, such as:
- A photo of the resident for easy identification
- Goals and aspirations: What the care seeker wants to get out of their care
- The care seeker’s hobbies, likes, dislikes and preferences on meals and daily routine
- Who is paying for the care: The care seeker’s personal budget
- Payment details
- Details of key dates and life events (this is particularly important for care seekers with dementia)
- Medical history and details on how much independence the care seeker has
- Equipment, adaptations, or specific medical care needed
- Details of continuity of care and emergency contacts
- Details of end of life care, if required
As well as medical history, details of medication and history of injuries and illness, care plans can also include information about the person’s history, employment history, family, culture and religion to give carers and staff a complete understanding of the person.
Nursing care plans
Nursing care plans are similar to normal care plans, with the exception that they likely contain more specific information on medication, specific care needed for certain health conditions and equipment or adaptations someone might need in their home or care home.
Any changes to the resident’s health condition will be carefully noted in their health record.
Ensuring care plans are regularly updated will ensure that staff switching shifts are all on the same page and can pick up where the last carer left off to make sure nothing is missed.
Involving the person
The most important thing about care planning is that they should be created around the person in question.
If it’s your care plan, make sure your opinions are heard and that you have a clear understanding of what is going into your care.
If the care plan is for your relative or loved one, don’t leave them out of conversations about their care and involve them in every decision. Their wants and wishes should be prioritised to ensure they are healthy and happy at all times.
Even if the care seeker in question has dementia, mental health problems, a disability or the person lacks capacity they should still be included at every step of the way; from the first conversation about their care, to ongoing care plan reviews.
Facial expressions, body language, gestures and behaviours can be used to communicate if speech is not always possible. Communication is key and can make all the difference between someone being unhappy in their care home and someone having the best experience possible.
Daily care plans
Although care plans look at the long-term aspect of someone’s care, daily records are also important.
Daily records help staff stay on top of residents’ care, especially in a care home where there are multiple members of staff on different shifts.
Staff should use the information in care plans to tailor their approach to each individual – whether that’s remembering which foods someone is allergic to, or knowing which residents would be interested in doing a singing class.
Care plans also ensure that staff and residents can work together to achieve the person’s care goals; for example, completing daily physio exercises to help the person maintain their mobility.
Good care homes should update care records daily to make sure staff have the right information at the right time, reducing the likelihood of accidents and keeping residents happy and well-cared for.
Care Plan reviews
Care plans are flexible and can easily be updated or amended at any time. If your local council has arranged your care and support plan, they have a duty to review it and make changes or updates if needed.
The first time your care plan is reviewed should be within three months after it has first been made. After that, you should have a care plan review at least once a year – but this isn’t set in stone.
If you ever feel your care plan is no longer supporting your needs, or you want to lodge a complaint, read on to find out how to do this.
How to complain if you are not happy
Your care plan should be reviewed regularly, giving you an opportunity to say what’s working and not working, and whether you want any changes to be made.
If you are unhappy with your care plan, you can get in touch with adult social services at your local council to request a review.
Most councils have a formal complaints procedure in place that you can follow by going to their website. If this is unsuccessful, you can escalate your complaint to your local government and social care ombudsman.
Ask a family member or a friend to help you make your complaint if you cannot easily access the Internet or phone.
How to check staff are following care plans
When you’re researching care homes, look for evidence that the staff clearly understand and use care plans. Staff should ask for residents’ preferences each time they provide care or support; for example, asking residents when they’d like their medication, asking what they’d like for dinner, or remembering that they have sugar in their tea.
If staff are friendly, respectful, informative and happy to talk to friends and family about their loved one’s care, this is another good sign.
Finally, if you can see evidence that the staff and care team are consistently reviewing residents’ care plans, asking for feedback from all parties involved and taking steps to offer care plan reviews, it’s probably a great care home to live in!
Now you know everything there is to know about care plans, why not get in touch with Lottie today to start your care home journey!