Taking care of a loved one can become overwhelming without proper planning. A family care plan for seniors can help you better navigate the challenging journey of caregiving. The care plan is an essential document (like a road map) that will guide your family on the best approach to ensure your loved one’s needs are fulfilled. Having an organized course of action also helps prevent caregiver burnout.
If you are currently caring for a parent or an aging loved one, here are some of the important things you need to know about developing a family care plan.
What Is a Care Plan?
A care plan is a personalized plan that outlines the care and services that an older adult needs to stay safe and healthy. The care plan is developed by the individual’s care team, which may include their doctor, nurse, social worker, and family members. The care plan includes the duties of each care team member, as well as schedules for care and services.
The care plan may also include instructions for dealing with specific health conditions or changes in the senior’s condition. A care plan is an important tool for ensuring that your loved one receives the care and services they need to stay healthy and safe.
Care Plan vs. Family Care Plan
While they may sound similar, these two serve different purposes. A care plan is often created by medical professionals or a healthcare agency to identify the needs and establish the goals between caregiver and patient.
A family care plan focuses more on the immediate family’s roles and duties when caring for a sick or aging relative. A family care plan can be created by healthcare professionals or families providing care to their senior loved ones.
Who Is Included in a Care Plan For Older Adults?
A care plan for an older adult typically includes input from the individual, their family, and their physician. The care plan may also involve a professional caregiver, depending on the level of care required. The care plan should include all aspects of care, from medical care to personal care. It should also detail the roles and responsibilities of the various caregivers.
The care plan is designed to meet the unique needs of the older adult, and it should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that it is still effective. The care plan should be flexible enough to accommodate changes in the older adult’s health and circumstances.
Components of a Family Care Plan
There are four essential components of a family care plan. While there can be other categories and details added to the list, these three parts should always be included.
Identify the Needs
The first step is to identify the needs of the care recipient. It is necessary to do a thorough review of their current medical, mental, physical, and emotional state. Check for areas that are lacking and need improvement.
Once you’ve identified the needs of your loved one, establish your goals and objectives. This should also include suggested resolutions for problem areas and an action plan on how you can achieve your goals.
It is overwhelming for one person to take on all of the responsibilities of caregiving. Create a list of the tasks that need to be done on a daily basis and assign them to family members or other caregivers. The assignments should be divided based on what each person is able/willing to provide. Communication between family members is an essential component of this part of the care plan process.
Information Included in the Family Care Plan
When crafting a family care plan, keep in mind to include as many essential details as possible. Having a comprehensive care plan eliminates a lot of potential problems in the future. The plan should include information on medications, health conditions, providers, and contacts. Your care plan should include the components below.
By taking the time to create a comprehensive family care plan, you can help to ensure that your loved ones are taken care of in the event of an emergency.
- Medications: Medications should be listed by name, dosage, side effects, and frequency.
- Health conditions: Health conditions and medical history should be described in detail, including any special needs or requirements.
- Providers: Providers should be listed by name, specialty, and contact information. Any physicians and other medical professionals involved in your loved one’s care should be included.
- Contacts: Contacts should be listed by name and relationship. Make a note of important people, relatives, and friends who can offer support. Emergency contacts should be listed first.
- Additional resources: The care plan should also include any additional resources that may be required in an emergency, such as power of attorney documents or advanced directives.
Aside from medical professionals and family contacts, it is also a good idea to include resources that can help with caregiver support and more. Some of the organizations to note are below:
- National Family Caregiver Support Program
- Family Caregiver Alliance
- Caregiver Action Network
- Alzheimer’s Association
- Help For Cancer Caregivers
Updating the Family Care Plan
A geriatric care plan should be regularly updated. As your loved one’s needs are ever-changing, it is important that the care plan also evolves.
Medicare requires healthcare agencies to reassess their client’s care plans once every 60 days. You can use this as a benchmark of how often you need to update the care plan. The frequency of evaluation largely depends on the medical condition of your loved one.
Those who have chronic conditions may need more frequent care plan reassessments. Primary care physicians, caregivers, and other involved family members should be notified of updates, including changes in the care recipient’s behavior or medical conditions.
Properly caring for an elderly loved one can be a daunting task, but luckily, there are steps you can take to make the process less overwhelming. One of the most important things you can do is create a family care plan. This document will serve as a road map to ensure that your loved one’s needs are being met and help prevent caregiver burnout.
Crafting a family care plan lessens the challenges of caregiving for a loved one. A comprehensive care plan identifies the needs of the care patient, establishes the short and long-term goals of the family, and outlines the duties of the care team. With proper planning and an organized approach, caregiving duties will be easier for everyone involved.
While we’ve provided some essential tips for creating a comprehensive care plan, we want to hear from you. Are there any other tips you would add? Let us know in the comments below!
Family Care Plan Frequently Asked Questions
A family care plan is an essential document that acts as a caregiving blueprint for an older loved one. It includes important details such as the patient’s needs, overall goals, and family member duties. This eliminates some of the challenges of caregiving by clearly assigning duties and expectations.
Having a family care plan eliminates a lot of potential problems. With an organized approach, family members will have a better understanding of their roles and duties. This helps identify areas that need improvement and also helps family members avoid caregiver burnout.
The essential components of a family care plan are identifying the needs of the patient, establishing goals, and assigning duties. However, family care plans can also be customized according to the specific needs of the care recipient.
Aside from outlining needs, goals, and duties, your care plan should also include essential caregivers. Family members who are contributing help should be listed, along with their respective duties and roles. The full care team can also include physicians and other medical professionals.
The main purpose of a family care plan is to provide an organized timeline and delegation of duties for the care team. The care plan provides an organized approach to care and eliminates confusion about who is responsible for different aspects of caregiving.
Amie Clark, BSW
Aging Advocate and Senior Care Expert
Amie has worked with older adults and their families for the past twenty-plus years of her career. Her senior care knowledge is based on her experience as a social worker, family caregiver, and senior care consultant. Learn more about Amie here.