The term eldercare plan means different things to different people depending on their point of view and what needs to be accomplished. In healthcare it traditionally refers to the document outlining how patient care is delivered. The care plan details medical treatments, nursing care, assistive accommodations and therapeutic interventions needed to achieve or maintain optimal health. Various professions define and use the document in other ways, for example:
- Eldercare attorneys consider an eldercare plan as a set of legal documents such as living wills, Do Not Resuscitate orders, and durable powers of attorney for both healthcare decisions and financial matters.
- Geriatric case managers create eldercare plans to make recommendations for care and living arrangements in the community. These documents are revised on a regular basis based upon the health and capabilities of the person being supported.
- Financial planners have similar documents but they are used to preserve assets and protect family wealth. These care plans are put in place ensuring adequate money is available for care needs until the end of life.
In the Community
Eldercare plans can be used in the community. The plan speaks for those unable to express their needs during illness or injury. Discuss a plan of care at the onset or initial diagnosis before the disease progresses and the person is no longer cognizant or able to contribute to the plan. Their voice is heard through the sentiments expressed and recorded and leaves little to interpretation.
A very detailed plan provides greater clarity when tough decisions need to be made. Roles and responsibilities associated with care are assigned. Medical treatment, tests, procedures and treatment preferences are defined at the very onset of the plan.
How to Create a Plan
- Plan a meeting bringing all involved parties to the table. Suggestions of whom to invite are the person in need of care, family members, community support persons, clergy and a professional case manager. In general invite those who will be providing care in the future.
- Discuss medical care, treatments, medication administration, adaptive equipment and personal care. Talk about challenges experienced on a regular basis such as impaired mobility, decreased stamina or altered mental status. Then discuss how these issues will be addressed. Identify any safety concerns and ways to mitigate those risks.
- Once the care plan is complete have all parties sign and date the document. This acts as a formal acknowledgment of participation. Ask the person being cared for if the plan meets their needs and is congruent with their own philosophies.
- Share a copy of the care plan with caregivers not present at the meeting. Provide a copy to the primary care physician to place in the medical chart.
- Modify the plan on a regular basis even if obvious changes have not occurred. Subtle changes in health occur slowly and can go unnoticed.
Creating an eldercare plan is important because it encourages consistency of care, helps the person to remain safely independent and expresses the person’s needs and preferences in no uncertain terms.
If you are looking for more information about this topic, the Senior Care Advisors at Kupuna Consulting can facilitate the process. To reach our knowledgeable staff, call 732-655-4770 or click here to contact us.