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What’s a Care Plan in a Nursing Home?

Resident “care plans” are an important tool used by nursing home staff to identify resident healthcare problems and the appropriate interventions to address these problems. Care plans also help with assigning the correct and most-qualified staff to provide the care outlined in the plan. 

A plan of care, or care plan, is a game plan, or strategy, for how the nursing home staff will help a resident. The plan of care must be in writing. It tells each staff member what to do and when to do it (e.g., dietary aide will place water on the right side because Mrs. Jones has left side paralysis). 

The nursing home staff will get your health information and review your health condition to prepare your care plan. You (if you’re able), your family (with your permission), or someone acting on your behalf, have the right to take part in planning your care with the nursing home staff. 

The basic care plan includes: 

  • a health assessment (a review of your health condition) that begins on the day you’re admitted, and must be completed within 14 days of admission. 
  • a health assessment at least every 90 days after your first review, and possibly more often if your medical status changes. 
  • ongoing, regular assessments of your condition to see if your health status has changed, with changes to your care plan as needed. 

Depending on your needs, your care plan may include: 

  • what kind of personal or health care services you need. 
  • what type of staff should give you these services. 
  • how often you need the services. 
  • what kind of equipment or supplies you need (like a wheelchair or feeding tube). 
  • what kind of diet you need (if you need a special one) and your food preferences. 
  • how your care plan will help you reach your goals. 
  • information on whether you plan on returning to the community and, if so, a plan to help you meet that goal. 

At all times, you or your family should be involved in the care plan. You are in the best position to be part of your care plan. It is in your best interest to understand the care plan and its benefit for your health.

The law office of elder law attorney Scott C. Painter, P.C., is located in Wyomissing (outside of Reading, PA, in Berks County,) and offers trusted legal services in the areas of elder law, including nursing home planning, trust and estate services, and veterans benefits. Scott C. Painter is a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA®), and he is also a member of the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA).

If you have an issue or question, we encourage you to call us. With legal matters, time is of the essence. Call us for a consultation at 610-378-5140. The $300 consultation fee is waived if Attorney Painter is retained to perform services.