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What is a Care Plan & Why Is It Important?

In most health and social care settings, positive outcomes are secured and care workers’ actions are guided by care plans. These plans are based on assessments of the needs of patients or clients, and include strategies developed in order to meet those needs effectively, and to secure a better quality of life and state of wellbeing for the individual.

What is a care plan in health and social care?

Care planning in health and social care settings involves the drawing up of schedules and objectives which detail the care that a particular individual should receive. Care planning is done by care professionals using their assessments and information available to them about the individual, client or patient and their condition and care needs. This knowledge should also be combined with consideration for the desired outcomes or the care programme.

A care plan should be regularly reviewed in order to monitor its effectiveness, and the individual it relates to should, as much as possible, be involved in the process of developing and monitoring the care plan. The plan should also include information about the allocation of responsibility for the actions it requires, and how to deal with any potential risks, issues and challenges.

What are the benefits of care planning? 

Care planning can have wide-ranging benefits for both care professionals and for their patients and clients. Here are some of the important advantages:

  • Setting clear goals: Health and social care professionals benefit greatly from having clear and measurable objectives to work towards as it allows them to focus their efforts. This means the individual receiving the care is likely, therefore, to receive a better outcome. 
  • Consistency of care: Care planning allows for clarity and consistency between various members of a care team. This enables the individual receiving care to have certainty about the service they are receiving.
  • Personalised care: When health and social care professionals draw up care plans for their individual patients and clients, they are able to tailor the plan specifically to that person’s needs. The patient is also able to participate and be involved in designing their own care, and wherever possible their preferences can be taken into account.
  • Safety and risk management: Clear care planning, with plans made accessible to all care professionals, ensures that everyone has the same understanding about the safety of a patient, and that risks are managed properly and consistently. 

What does a care plan include?

There are a number of elements which a care plan will lay out, address and provide guidance on. Usually, these elements will include:

  • A summary of the person’s care needs, based on a thorough care assessment
  • The care outcomes and targets which the plan hopes to achieve, with a clear outline of how progress will be measured and monitored
  • The recommended care actions which should be implemented in order to achieve the desired outcomes. These recommendations may relate to medication, pain management, physiotherapy, mental health support, diet, activities and adjustments to the individual’s living environment
  • Notes on the personal needs and any care or safety considerations relating to the individual which need to be considered. For example, if someone is at a high risk of falls, if they have any allergies, or if they have dementia and have a tendency to get upset or confused in particular situations, these concerns should all be highlighted in the care plan

How is a care plan produced? 

1. Care needs assessment

An assessment of the individual who requires care will be required in order to establish what must be covered in the plan. A free care needs assessment can be requested from a local authority, or it can be conducted in a hospital or residential care home setting.

2. Goal setting

The care needs assessment is used as a guide for the development of clear and measurable goals which the care should meet. This is usually based around meeting the individual’s care needs, as well as maximising their wellbeing and quality of life, and improving their condition or minimising symptoms. The targets are based on judgments about which outcomes would indicate success and the goals should be incremental and achievable.

3. Planning implementation and care tasks

When goals have been set, the next step is to lay out the actions needed to achieve them. This will involve detailing care tasks, some of which are likely to be part of an everyday routine, such as how to manage medication and implement a suitable diet plan. This part of the care planning process should also involve outlining how to respond to possible scenarios, for example, the steps to take should the person fall and be injured, become ill with the flu or pneumonia, or experience a sudden deterioration in their mobility or mental capacity.

4. Risk management

One of the clear benefits of care planning is to help care professionals take preventative measures in order to avoid problems. When developing the plan, the potential risks of the patient or client’s day-to-day life should be assessed, and means of avoiding those dangers should be identified and included. This is likely to include guidance on how to modify the living environment and daily activities in order to make them safer.

5. Reviewing and monitoring progress

It’s important that care plans include details of how progress will be monitored and how targets will be met. The plan should include clear and easily measurable indicators which can be tracked and will accurately reflect the patient’s condition. There should also be regular reviews of the plan itself, allowing it to be adjusted if necessary, with plenty of provision for the patient to give their own feedback on their care and to be involved in adjusting it if necessary.

If you want to put people at the heart of your job, become a volunteer at The Fremantle Trust, view our career vacancies, or contact us today. 

We have care homes located across the Buckinghamshire county. Learn more about care homes nearest to you:

Care home in Aylesbury
Care homes in Princes Risborough
Nursing home in Chalfont St Peter
Care homes in Amersham
Care homes in Slough
Care homes in Chesham
Care homes in Stoke
Care homes in Burnham
Care homes in High Wycombe
Care homes in Marlow