What Is a Plan of Care and Why Is It So Important?

An older couple who asked their care professional, “What is a plan of care?” look closely at her computer screen as she explains.

If you’re wondering, “What is a plan of care?” we have the important details you need.

You have just started exploring in-home care choices for a loved one, and you’re becoming somewhat overwhelmed. There are countless options to consider, and many new and unfamiliar terms to understand. Take, for example, the plan of care. What is a plan of care, and is it necessary? It may seem like just another piece of jargon in a sea of perplexing terms, but it’s actually one of the most important aspects of senior care services. Here’s why:

Personalized Care Coordination

A care plan isn’t only a document; it is a tailored blueprint designed to meet an individual’s distinct needs and preferences. This plan makes certain that all facets of care, from day-to-day routines to the person’s interests and hobbies, are integrated to make life more comfortable, more enriching, and safer. It helps avoid generalizations in care, concentrating instead on providing what is most advantageous for the person’s health and happiness. This proactive approach supports not just physical health but also emotional and social well-being, adjusting seamlessly to evolving conditions.

Transparent Communication

Among the important functions of a plan of care is to foster clear and consistent communication among everyone involved—caregivers, medical professionals, and family members. This document serves as a central point of reference that everybody can turn to, decreasing misunderstandings and making certain everybody is on the same page concerning the care provided. By developing a common framework for responsibilities and expectations, it encourages a collaborative environment that enhances the quality of care.

Ongoing Assessment and Adaptation

A care plan is a living document that changes with a person’s evolving needs. It contains mechanisms for regular assessment and review, making it possible for adjustments as the senior’s preferences or health status change with time. This flexibility is important for accommodating the natural progression of aging along with any unforeseen health problems, making certain the care provided continues to be effective and appropriate. Through continuous reevaluation and monitoring, the plan stays aligned with the person’s current needs, promoting optimal wellbeing outcomes.

At Responsive Home Care, our services always begin with a complimentary in-home consultation and development of a tailored plan of care. This lays the foundation for the services that will be provided, which caregiver or caregivers will perform these services, when they will occur, and other key details the care team will adhere to.

Your engagement in the care planning process offers you a voice in the care a family member receives. It can help you grasp the rationale behind each aspect of the care strategy and reassures you that their health and happiness are prioritized.

Ready to get started on the creation of a customized care plan for an older loved one? Give us a call at 954-486-6440 to set up your in-home meeting today! We are happy to offer our customized senior care services throughout Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Lighthouse Point, and throughout Broward County.

Solutions to Help Be a Better Senior Advocate For a Loved One

adult daughter and senior mother talking to caregiver

Advocating for a senior loved one is easier with home care help.

Trusting someone you love to the care of someone else is not easy, particularly for an older member of the family. Whether at home or in a facility, you’ll have questions you need answered. You will also want to be an excellent senior advocate to proactively address any potential problems and also to immediately resolve problems that do develop.

For example, review the following common situations and how to be a better senior advocate should they occur with an older adult you love:

  • You’re concerned about challenging behaviors. In the event the older adult is prone to wandering, aggression, angry outbursts, hoarding, or any one of an array of other difficult behaviors, you might feel embarrassed or ashamed. Though you may prefer not to talk about the issue, it is a good idea to share this openly with the care provider. More likely than not, they have experience with successfully working with an array of personalities and personal nuances, and will be able to incorporate strategies which will work best together with your family member.
  • You live far away. Thanks to technology, it’s easier than ever to remain close to a long-distance relative and to keep a finger on the pulse of how things are going. FaceTime, Zoom, or Skype with the older adult regularly to check in. If a family portal is available for the home care provider and family members to share comments and notes, make full use of this communication tool. And if you’re not able to visit in person, ask a friend or other member of the family who lives nearby to drop in routinely.
  • Your loved one has dementia. A senior with dementia may not be able to effectively communicate their wishes and needs. For example, a new caregiver might not know that Dad wears inserts in his shoes and she may put his shoes on each morning without them. Dad might not know how to communicate this need or could have forgotten about this need and start to become uncomfortable that day. Or he may act out because he is experiencing discomfort, which might lead to other issues. As the older adult’s voice, be sure to share even the smallest details about the person’s preferences with the care provider.

Responsive Home Care partners with families, working together to ensure the best quality of care and senior advocacy, through personalized services such as:

  • Meal planning and preparation
  • Light housekeeping and laundry
  • Personal care for safe baths/showers, getting dressed, etc.
  • Running errands
  • Companionship for fun activities and conversations
  • And more

Contact us at (954) 486-6440 for a free in-home consultation to allow us to develop a care plan for your family or to learn more about our in-home respite care in Weston, FL and the surrounding area.

Easy Tips for Being the Best Caregiver for a Senior at a Medical Appointment

senior couple visiting a doctor

Family caregivers are uniquely positioned to be the best advocates for seniors at medical appointments.

Of all of the many responsibilities a family caregiver encounters, potentially one of the most overwhelming is managing health conditions. The National Council on Aging reports that around ¾ of all seniors are clinically determined to have at least two chronic diseases, and they are seeing an average of four medical experts.

As your aging parent’s advocate, it’s very important to know how to communicate effectively with those on the older adult’s medical team, and to arrive at appointments completely prepared to address all concerns. The following four questions are a great place to start:

  1. Are all of these medications essential? With most seniors taking several medications, you will need to keep a detailed list and evaluate it periodically with the doctor, along with the pharmacist, each of whom will be able to make sure there aren’t any duplications prescribed by different specialists, or any contraindications between meds.
  2. If prescribing something new, what unwanted side effects might we expect to see? Evaluating the benefits vs. the potential health risks for any new medication is very important, as there may be situations when troublesome side effects overshadow any positive benefits. And in case the physician shares a blanket statement such as, “Most people do not encounter any problems with this medication,” make sure to follow up to learn more about people who DO encounter problems.
  3. What’s the most effective way to decrease pain and discomfort? We’re all familiar with the opioid epidemic, and also the risk of addiction, as well as other problems that come with taking prescription pain medications. However, unaddressed pain can bring about both slowed healing and considerable emotional stress, both for the individual experiencing pain along with his or her caregivers.
  4. If this were your grandfather, what would you do? Inviting the doctor to step into your shoes is an extremely helpful method to gauge the way you may wish to proceed. There may be less invasive or aggressive means to managing a problem which you might want to explore first.

To get more tips on ensuring an older adult you love receives the best possible care, get in touch with the Ft. Lauderdale caregivers at Responsive Home Care. We’re here to help through:

  • Accompanying a senior loved one to healthcare appointments and procedures, making certain that questions are addressed
  • Ensuring medications are taken just as prescribed
  • Proactively monitoring for any changes in condition, such as medication side effects, and reporting them promptly
  • Planning and preparing healthy meals and providing encouragement to stay physically active to enhance health
  • And much more

Our qualified Ft Lauderdale caregivers are available across a large service area in Broward County.  To get started on a better quality of life for an older adult, contact Responsive Home Care at (954) 486-6440 to request an in-home consultation and learn more about options in Sunrise for elderly care.