What is the best way to ensure your loved one is receiving the care that they need?
When families make the decision to place When families make the decision to place their loved one in a long-term care facility, they often wonder, what is the best way to ensure that their loved one is receiving the care that they need in order to be safe and healthy? Two of the popular ways are to, one, visit often to check on your loved one, and two, to get to know the care staff as well as you can. But the best way to ensure that your loved one is receiving the care that they need in order to have a positive outcome while at the facility is to attend the care plan meetings and to monitor the development and revision of the care plan.
What is a care plan?
First, let’s talk about what a care plan is. Any time an individual enters a long-term care facility, federal law requires that the personnel at the long-term care facility conduct a comprehensive assessment. During that comprehensive assessment, healthcare staff will assess that person’s abilities and needs. Once those abilities and needs are assessed, then the staff will start the development of a care plan.
The care plan is sort of a road map to how the staff will handle any problems that the individual has. It’s important because without it, issues related to a person’s healthcare may be neglected. For example, a caregiver who is unfamiliar with your loved one’s health condition can pick up the care plan and easily determine what the healthcare needs are.
What is included in a care plan?
Let’s go into detail about what’s included in a care plan. One of the first things you will notice about a care plan is that it includes all of the problems that a person may have. That came from the assessment that the long-term care facility staff members conducted as soon as a person entered the facility. With those problems identified, nursing staff then introduce what are called interventions. Interventions are how the staff intends to address those problems. By introducing those interventions, they’ll have an opportunity to meet any goals they have set.
In a long-term care facility, oftentimes, the goal is to rehabilitate or to make sure that a problem doesn’t get worse. By implementing and documenting the interventions, the nursing home or the long-term care facility will have an understanding of what they’re doing to try to improve the health outcome.
One of the most important things that you’ll find in a care plan is the monitoring of the interventions.
In order to know whether the interventions are working for an individual, a facility has to be able to document and check the progress of any problems. If problems aren’t getting better, then the care plan has to be changed. Either new interventions have to introduced or new methods have to be introduced. In any event, care planning is an ongoing process. It only ends when your loved one leaves the facility.
How do you monitor a care plan?
Now, with the care plan in place, it’s important to know about how the monitoring of that care plan is done. Facilities are required to conduct care plan meetings on a quarterly basis. At these care plan meetings, the interdisciplinary team will appear. When we say interdisciplinary team, we’re referring to all of the healthcare disciplines in the facility. For instance, physicians, registered nurses, dieticians, physical therapists, all those folks will attend the care plan meeting.
In addition to those folks, the family should attend. That is your best opportunity to determine whether the care plan and the facility are meeting the goal of ensuring a positive outcome for your loved one. It is at that meeting that you’ll get to talk to the people who are providing the hands-on care to your loved one, and you’ll get to provide input about your loved one to those folks so that you can ensure the very best output.
If for some reason the facility isn’t scheduling quarterly meetings or the facility isn’t documenting or creating a care plan for your loved one, you should immediately contact the Department of Health and Senior Services because the care plan meetings and the care plan itself are essential to ensuring a positive health outcome while your loved one is in a long-term care facility.
Contact a Nursing Home Litigation attorney today to discuss your options.
For more information about care plans and care plan meetings, feel free to contact one of our nursing home negligence attorneys.