A care plan is an important element of ensuring the best eldercare for each individual. Nursing homes and hospitals use care plans to manage their patients’ needs. These are often dictated by regulations; facilities and providers usually have specific forms and rules they follow. If you’ve ever had a loved one in a nursing home, you probably received notifications about care plan meetings. The patient and responsible parties are supposed to be invited to these meetings, in which they and the staff review and discuss various aspects of the person’s care.
A care plan is just as vital for an elder who lives in the community. A care plan lays out how different needs are being addressed. A coordinated plan keeps the care providers on track and helps everyone work together to meet goals.
At Aging Wisely, our proprietary care planning process starts with our assessment. We identify key issues (drawing in the perspectives of the client, family and others as well as our expert evaluation) and make recommendations to address them. Some of these may be taken care of immediately, some may be priorities for the future and many will involve ongoing services and management.
The Aging Wisely care plan is both a document (which is being reviewed and updated on a regular basis) and a process. We use it in our plan for visiting and handling different tasks. We use it as the basis for communicating with clients and families about the steps we are taking and the things we will help accomplish.
The Aging Wisely care plan is also holistic in nature, like our comprehensive assessment. It is not simply a list of medical procedures or medications. The care plan can cover all aspects of the client’s life, from the medical and practical to social, familial and spiritual.
Examples of holistic goals we might incorporate into an Aging Wisely care plan:
Financial: To assist a client’s family in reducing the cost of medications by exploring Medicare drug plan options during open enrollment.
Spiritual: To hire a companion to escort the client to weekly church services and to get information on church support services.
Social: To help a client sign up for classes at the local senior center and to schedule transportation to drive her to her weekly bridge games and lunch outings.
We know that all of these aspects of a person impact the others. So, for example, if a client is suffering financially, he or she may go without needed medication or eat poorly thus affecting health. Lack of socialization and emotional/spiritual/familial support can lead to poor health and increased risk of cognitive issues. These connections are just a few of the many examples of why a comprehensive, coordinated care plan is so vital for safe, happy, healthy aging.
Want to learn more about the Aging Wisely care plan or get help providing the best care for your elder loved one? Contact our eldercare team at 727-447-5845 any time!