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What Is A Care Plan?

January 31st, 2023

When you’re researching care homes and other care options for a loved one, it’s likely that you’ll come across the term ‘care plan’. If you’re new to the world of adult social care or residential care, you might not have seen a care plan before. With this in mind, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about care planning, care plans, and how they’re used in care homes to support older people’s health and wellbeing. Keep reading to find out more.

What Is Care Planning?

Care planning is the process of understanding an individual’s health, wellbeing, and care needs, and using the information gathered to form a plan for ensuring all of these needs are addressed. Care planning may take place in the community, for people receiving nursing care, or for older people moving into a care home.

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The purpose of care planning is to make sure that all of the healthcare professionals an individual comes into contact with – whether that’s community carers, nurses, or care home staff – are aware of their specific needs and the agreed approach for meeting these. A care plan ensures that the individual themselves, their next of kin, and healthcare staff are agreed on the best course of action to take to make sure their needs are met. 

The individual concerned should always be involved in their own care planning, and if they’re not in a position to be able to, an appointed person or authority should have been given this responsibility as part of a power of attorney agreement.

Care planning may recognise that an individual needs to move into a care home, but the care plan will also influence how they’re cared for once they’ve moved in.

What Is A Care Plan?

A care plan is a strategy that’s developed for meeting an individual’s needs when it’s clear that extra support may be required; perhaps they’ve recently been diagnosed with dementia, they’ve suffered a fall at home, they’re neglecting their personal hygiene, or you’re wondering if a care home would be suitable.

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There should be five main components to any care plan: 

  • Assessment: the first stage of a care plan is assessing the individual’s needs, which may take the form of an informal chat, a questionnaire, or even an observation
  • Diagnosis: a healthcare coordinator or care home staff member will use the information gathered to determine what the individual’s needs are 
  • Care planning: once needs have been identified, a care plan can be drawn up
  • Implementation: any recommended changes should be implemented, and lived with for an agreed period so that their effects can be measured
  • Review: once the individual has lived with the changes recommended in their care plan for the agreed period, it should be evaluated and tweaked as necessary – a care plan should be an evolving document that develops as the individual’s needs change

Some people will also be eligible for what’s known as a care and support plan, which is designed to help make sure they are able to live independently while receiving support from a day centre or community carers. 

What Should Be Included In A Care Plan?

A comprehensive care plan should cover absolutely everything to do with an individual’s care needs, from their ability to perform day-to-day tasks to the medication they take. Every single care plan will differ depending on the person’s needs, but below is an example of some of the areas that may be covered:

  • Details on ability to wash, dress, and complete other everyday tasks for themselves
  • Medications being taken – including how often they need to be taken, and whether they require any support with administering them
  • What’s most important to the patient – knowing what makes them happy is key to building relationships between healthcare professionals or care home staff and the individual concerned
  • Necessary adaptations required to their home or care home bedroom to help them to maintain their independence
  • Details of close/emergency contacts

A care plan may determine that moving into a care home is necessary; from there, the care plan will be used to tailor support from staff to the needs in question. 

What Is A Care Plan In A Care Home?

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A care plan in a care home is a document or agreement that lays out a resident’s individual care needs and how these will be met by care home staff. For example, this may include:

  • Any adaptations required in their room
  • What medication they need to take and when
  • Their level of independence in carrying out daily tasks such as washing and dressing
  • Any dietary needs that may affect their health

A resident’s independence, happiness, and wellbeing will always be at the centre of any care home care plan. Every care plan overseen by a care home will be completely unique and tailored to each resident’s individual needs. 

Care plans should be reviewed regularly in line with residents’ changing needs; they may lose their ability to dress themselves or require help bathing, for instance. Their initial care home care plan should be used as a foundation for meeting their needs when they’re coming into residential, nursing, respite, or dementia care for the first time, but it should evolve and change over time too.

How New Care Uses A Resident’s Care Plan

At New Care, we work with any new residents and their loved ones to devise a care plan in line with their specific needs at the time, which will always have their wellbeing and safety at its centre. If a resident is coming to us with an existing care plan, we’ll always look at how we can enhance this, while ensuring there’s as little disruption for the resident as possible.

For example, a resident with a care plan that’s been created to manage a recent dementia diagnosis will benefit from the dementia-friendly features of our care homes, which include subtle signage, allowing them to keep more of their independence for as long as possible.

If you have any questions about our care homes or any of the care services that we offer, please don’t hesitate to contact us.