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What is a Care Plan? | Keystone Elder Law – Mechanicsburg, PA

If you are the responsible party for a loved one in a care community such as a nursing home or personal care home, you may have been invited to participate in a care plan meeting. You may have wondered, “What is this for?” or “What is my role in this?” In its simplest terms, a care plan is just what its name says- a plan that details what care your loved one needs and how the staff will provide that care to your loved one.

Different levels of care communities have different requirements for the frequency of care plan meetings (every three months for nursing homes and yearly for personal care homes), but they can be held more frequently if there is a need for changes in the current care plan. Part of the purpose of a care plan meeting is to inform you on how your loved one is doing and what his or her needs are. Another purpose of the care plan meeting is to individualize the care plan to promote the best quality of life for your loved one. This is where your input on behalf of your loved one is important. (If your loved one is alert and oriented, he or she should be asked to participate in the care plan meeting so he or she can give input.)

Is your loved one a late riser? Then you might want the care plan to specify that he or she be one of the last people awakened and helped with morning care. Does your loved one prefer showers or tub baths? Does he or she get tired or have pain after being out of bed for a certain period of time? Is your loved one used to having a “midnight” snack? Is it important to him or her to get to on-site religious services? Let your creative juices flow as you think about how your loved one’s care needs can be structured in ways to maximize his or her quality of life. Both you and your loved one will be happier.

John Reese
Elder Care Coordinator