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Plan of Care

The plan of care is a written plan that details the kinds of care and services each individual resident requires for their specific healthcare situation. The initial assessment is required within 14 days of admission into the nursing home.

What Does a Plan of Care Involve?

The plan of care, or care plan, is a strategy that’s developed for guiding the nursing home staff in caring for each resident. It is a legal document that details what each staff member is required to do and when for each patient. One example might be instructing a dietary aide to leave water for Mr. Murphy on the left bedside table because he experiences paralysis on his right side.

A care plan is crucial for the comfort and wellbeing of your loved one. Aside from detailing critical issues such as medications, another key aspect of a care plan is its clear instructions for aides who would not know what each person requires otherwise.

What Happens at a Plan of Care Meeting?

Each plan of care meeting should include the nursing home staff involved with the care of your loved one, the resident if possible, and the resident’s family member or legal representative. Topics discussed include the patient’s daily routine and what that involves such as activities, meals, therapies, emotional needs, and medical care.

Federal law requires that each meeting should include one person from each group responsible for your elder’s care. That may involve a physician, nurse, nursing assistant, dietician, activities representative, social worker, as well as physical and occupational therapists.

Plan of care meetings are established to create a line of communication between all parties in order to provide the best care possible. To that end, each member should be allowed to air opinions or concerns, and responses need to be in understandable lay terminology if needed. A plan of care meeting is the time and place to get answers to questions regarding your loved one’s care.

How Often Are Plan of Care Meetings Held?

The initial assessment of your loved one must be completed within 14 days of admission into the nursing home. The first plan of care is required to be completed within seven days of that assessment. From that point, regular care plan meetings are required every three months, or with each major change involving the patient’s mental or physical health.

How Should You Plan for and Participate in a Plan of Care Meeting?

It is each resident’s right to have a choice about what his life, care, and daily schedule at the facility should involve. As a family member or legal representative, you must participate in each meeting and provide your elder the same opportunity to be heard when possible. Some topics of discussion might be the overall mental, emotional, and physical health of the resident.

This may include addressing what’s working and what your concerns are, along with any personal goals of the resident. In order to stay informed about your loved one’s care plan, prepare specific questions to ask the staff or physician about the resident’s treatment, care, and condition. Discuss your preferences for treatment and how they align with your needs and treatment options. Be sure to ask for an explanation of any procedures or terms that aren’t clear to you.

It is important to include your loved one in each meeting whenever possible, even if he suffers from dementia. Finding effective ways to communicate is one critical aspect of a well-drafted plan of care. Your understanding of the care plan is a critical aspect of its facilitation. Be certain that you understand each aspect of the plan and determine if it meets your loved one’s needs before agreeing to it. After each plan of care review, follow up to make sure that each point on the agenda is followed.

How Can an Attorney Assist You with a Plan of Care?

If you are the resident who is seeking care in an SNF, or you are a family member concerned about your loved one’s condition and believe they are under the care of negligent staff, it can be beneficial to seek the advice of a compassionate and experienced nursing home abuse lawyer. Call 1-800-516-4783 for a free consultation about the best way to proceed with your unique situation.


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