Care Plans 101

A Starting Point for Creating Your Care Plan

Care Plan: Learn about the basics

“Care plan” is a term you have likely heard if you are a family caregiver. Though it is a tool that can make your and your loved one’s experiences much better, many families don’t have one. In this post, we will help you understand what a care plan is and how to create one.

What is a Care Plan?

Care plan: a document that outlines a person’s specific care/support needs and the planned actions to meet those needs. It is a detailed plan that is tailored to an individual’s unique situation. It may include information about their physical, emotional, and social needs. Additionally, it will include medical conditions or disabilities they may have. Many care professionals will assist in creating a plan. Or you can use the services of a geriatric or life-care manager.

Creating a Care Plan

Get Organized

Before creating the document, it’s a good idea to spend some time gathering information. You should first assess your loved one’s needs and gather information about their current health and well-being. This may involve speaking with them, their healthcare provider, and other relevant professionals, such as occupational therapists or social workers. You should also consider your loved one’s preferences and goals for their care and support as you prepare.

Create a Plan

Once you have gathered the necessary information, you will use it to develop a document. The document will outline the specific care and support your loved one will receive. This may include medical treatments, therapies, or other interventions that may be necessary. It should also include details about how care and support will be coordinated and managed. Especially who will be responsible for providing care and how often it will be provided.

A Care Plan Template

This is a general guide for what to include in your care plan. The CDC offers a fillable care plan template that we really like!

  1. Introduction: This section includes a space for the individual’s name, their relationship to the caregiver, and the purpose of the care plan.
  2. Background information: This section includes spaces for the individual’s current health and well-being, including any medical conditions or disabilities they have, their current medications and treatments, and any other relevant information about their health and care needs.
  3. Goals and objectives: This section includes spaces for the individual’s goals and objectives for their care and support, including their desired level of independence and any specific activities or outcomes they hope to achieve.
  4. Care and support needs: This section includes spaces for the specific care and support needs of the individual, including any medical treatments, therapies, or other interventions that are necessary. It also includes spaces for any assistance the individual may need with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, or meal preparation.
  5. Coordination and management of care: This section includes spaces for how the individual’s care and support will be coordinated and managed, including who will be responsible for providing care and how often it will be provided. It also includes a space for how the care plan will be reviewed and updated.
  6. Emergency plan: This section includes spaces for the steps that should be taken in the event of an emergency, including the names and contact information of the individual’s healthcare providers and any other relevant emergency contacts (learn more about Caregiver Emergency Plans).
  7. Contingency plan: This section includes spaces for any contingency plans that may be necessary in the event that the primary caregiver is unable to provide care or support, such as arrangements for temporary or long-term care.

Review Regularly

It is important to note that this template is just a starting point. And your care plan should be tailored to your loved one’s specific needs and preferences. You should consult your loved one and their healthcare providers to develop a plan that meets their unique needs. This will ensure that they receive the care and support they need.

The document should be reviewed and updated regularly in order to meet your loved one’s changing needs and preferences. Share the care plan with your loved one and their care providers. This way, everyone involved in your loved one’s care is aware of their needs and the steps in place to meet those needs.

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Liz Craven
Author: Liz Craven

Liz Craven, co-publisher of Sage Aging ElderCare Guide with her husband Wes, combines personal experience and heartfelt dedication in her work. Their journey in eldercare began with a personal story—caring for Wes' grandmother, Mabel, who lived with Alzheimer's. This chapter in their lives not only highlighted the complexities of eldercare but also kindled a deep-seated passion to support others facing similar challenges. Since then, Liz and Wes have navigated caregiving three more times. These experiences have added layers of depth to their insights, allowing them to offer a blend of empathetic understanding and practical advice through the Sage Aging ElderCare Guide. Liz’s commitment to making eldercare more approachable and less daunting shines through in every piece of advice she offers, aiming to ease the caregiving journey for others.