Many people know how wise it is to put money away for retirement. Many people understand the wisdom behind having a will and making sure there is a “back up plan” to take care of any family members that might be affected by our death or incapacitation. However, many patients do not have a home health care plan, and that is a huge mistake.
A home health care plan is just as crucial as a will. It lays out the care you or your family member needs, when they need it, and for how long they will need the care. It is flexible and changeable as circumstances change, and is custom-designed for each individual patients’ needs. Without it, there will be no guidelines or means of monitoring or managing care, and something is bound to be neglected.
Basically, your plan of care is made up of “written doctors orders for home health services and treatments” (Medicare.gov) which are personalized to each patient. “Care planning provides a ‘road map’ of sorts, to guide all who are involved with a patient[’s care]…. To be effective and comprehensive, the care planning process must involve all disciplines that are involved in the care of this patient/resident” (Careplans.com).
There are several steps to developing a home health care plan.
Step #1 – Assessment – This is a full medical assessment done by a family doctor or other medical specialist, and/or by a nurse. At this stage, a patient’s abilities and limitations are assessed and the effects on the patient’s quality of life evaluated.
Step #2 – Problem List – Once the medical assessment has been done, each problem discovered or discussed needs to be written down along with the impact of each problem on the patient’s life. At this stage, the main consideration is “Will this problem get better?” or “Will intervention help this problem get better?” If the answer is “yes” in both these scenarios, a goal will be set, including a timeline and “due date” for reassessment of this particular issue. The goal and interventions needed to achieve that goal should be measurable and realistic.