Do you have a home care plan? Do you know that it needs reviewing ever so regularly to ensure that your needs are continually supported?
If this all sounds too foreign to you, let us briefly take you through the whole process that is “engaging home care services”, which is where this whole “care plan” comes from.
What Is A Care Plan?
When you engage home care services from a home care provider, you will need to come up with a care plan together with your service provider.
This is so that your service provider will know what sort of needs and goals you have, and therefore be able to provide the type of services that can adequately address them.
Basically, a care plan will outline three important aspects:
- your home care needs (goals, preferences),
- the services you will receive to meet those needs,
- who will provide the services and when (frequency, days and times).
It will detail all your care management arrangements, amongst other things.
Safe to say, a care plan is very personal and varies across different individuals because different people has different needs and priorities.
It does not end at just there though, once you have set up your care plan. Every now and then, you will need to review it. Why is that so?
Reviewing Your Care Plan
If we are to bring it all down to one word, that will be “change”.
You see, your health and support needs are likely to change and fluctuate over time – what is important and essential to you a year ago may be totally irrelevant now so your care plan needs to reflect that accordingly.
For example, your care plan may initially cover only services that will make life easier for you, i.e. domestic assistance like daily meal preparation, household cleaning, having a companion for a few hours per day, etc.
However, a year or two later, your health may have declined and you now require more or different types of care, i.e. nursing or 24-hour around the clock care. Or, it could be the exact opposite – your independence has grown a lot over time so you need less supports now, hence the readiness to strike off a few services from your care plan.
Whatever the situation is, what we’re saying is that your needs will change with time. They wouldn’t stay the same forever, and that happens for everyone.
This is precisely why you need to review your care plan every now and then so that your present needs can be taken care of adequately.
What To Do When Reviewing Your Care Plan
The process is very much the same as when you first set up your care plan. Think of what your current needs and goals are, and discuss them with your service provider.
Taking our example from above, if you find that your independence has grown, you may want to reallocate your funding into other areas since you don’t need as much help with say, meal preparation anymore. Instead, you’d prefer extra transport assistance to get out in the community, so let your provider know about this.
Or if your mobility has decreased over the last year, tell them you would like to receive supports that can better assist with this. Your care plan should be tailored around you and your needs, but do keep in mind that you have a budget to work around with.
If you do not know where to start when reviewing your care plan, we have one tip for you: think of your own personal goals –
- Is it maintaining a healthy lifestyle? or
- Achieving mobility independence is more of your preference?
Whatever it is, going through your personal goals will make for a good starting point in setting the direction of your care plan. So review these personal goals and set new ones (if need be). List them down as you prepare yourself for the review meeting.
One very important thing to keep in mind when reviewing your care plan is that there may be a chance that you may need to change providers. So be prepared for this – if your current provider cannot meet your support needs, you will have to make a switch.
Before you do so though, it is worthy to find out if they can set up some sort of subcontracting or other arrangements to meet your needs. This is because continuing with someone you are already familiar with is always better than having to start all over again with a new service provider.
When Do You Need To Review Your Care Plan?
Regardless if you request for it or not, service providers will review care plans at least once every 12 months.
Nevertheless, you can ask for a review any time if there is a need to. If you sense that your health needs have changed, you have to review your current services and your plan will have to adapt to these changes. It is therefore vital that you monitor your own needs and take stock of what assistance you really require at home.
In any case, talk to your provider in the first instance and they will be able to assist you from there.
Last but not least, know that your care plan cannot be changed without your agreement. Any changes made will need to be discussed and agreed between you and your service provider, so rest assured there won’t be any unsolicited services that are included in your care plan.
We highly encourage you to have another person (i.e. family member) present when reviewing changes to your care plan. Not just for emotional support, but they can also explain the different services available to you so that you can understand better. Be sure to receive a copy of the updated care plan once all is done for your own records.