In the BBC news I read with an ironic smile how the (social) care plan was just ‘papering over the cracks’ and that ‘the care plan did not go far enough’ Clearly others people can see this so why can’t our government ministers?
In reporting feedback the website states ‘Richard Humphries, of the King’s Fund think-tank, said “the government has failed to produce a clear plan”.’
So maybe they need a little support in basic care planning from those of us who are thinking about it all of the time, although I admit that it would be a novel idea for those who are living and breathing care plans, either in development or receipt, should be consulted never mind involved (for proof see Care Quality Commission reports).
Assessment of need is usually the first step – what do people need to help them remain as independent as possible in their own homes. Well some specific ‘support in the home’ would not go amiss but with enough time to actually talk to the person to find out how they are coping, what extra help they need and how they are going to access it. Some measurement might help too so that a baseline and outcome can be identified e.g. help with maintaining the home, 3 meals a day, adequate sleep, medication, exercise and money to maybe take in a social event or two?
Plan– this is where clear targets or goals can be laid down that are achievable and yet still measurable. So say people had enough money (in the form of direct payments/ benefits etc) to get the help they need (without selling their house/ goods), we would also need to be able to measure that it is in fact working – the true test of any good care plan. If people are having to pay for their own care needs then they are no longer being supported by the NHS?
Intervention – identifying the roles, responsibilities and strengths of all who are involved including the people in receipt of the care plan ensures that the plan can indeed be met realistically and leaves no room for confusion or failure – but if it does fail we know who is responsible and can change that part of the plan quickly.
Evaluation – the responsibility of at least one of the people organising the care plan that is timely and responsive to change where necessary to prevent relapse ( not necessary failure) or to increase/decrease support when needed.
Of course those of us in the know;-) know that a good care plan is a SMART one – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. It would be interesting and indeed very helpful if ministers could try applying this to some of the plethora of policies that staff are expected to implement in practice.