A previous post here discussed the use of care plans for people in Connecticut who need to reside in a nursing home or other care facility. These plans are a written roadmap for the care of an elderly or disabled person that should be tailored to that individual’s specific needs and desires. These plans can be followed by care facilities so that they can better provide appropriate care and be held accountable for any neglect and abuse that might arise.
We touched on the basic concept behind these care plans, and some of the recommendations of the Connecticut Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program’s with regard to who should be involved in the planning of these documents and how they might be useful. However, there are also some pitfalls that the LTCOP advises should be avoided when drawing up a care plan for a family member or other loved one in a nursing home.
First and foremost, any care plan that is put together should have the consent and agreement of the resident. Family members should beware of care plans drawn up by a facility that do not appear to have been made in consultation with their loved one. In such plans, sometimes certain behaviors are incorrectly considered as problems, or the facility or staff’s concerns are more important than the resident’s concerns. Further, families should look out for plans that do not take the individualized needs of the resident into consideration, or are so broad as to apply to anyone. Also, a care plan should be flexible and not set in stone and unchanging. Finally, plans shouldn’t contain conflicting goals or be so complicated or obtuse as to be hard to comprehend.
The proper use of long term care plans can help a facility provide better and more efficient service to its residents, as well as give family members more peace of mind regarding the care the resident is receiving. Unfortunately, even with the best plans, nursing home abuse occurs, and residents and their families should understand their legal rights when it does.