What to Know About Nursing Home Care Plans

When your loved one moves into a nursing home, it is important that, along with quality health care, they be treated with dignity. You want them to be treated as a resident, not a patient. A nursing home care plan is an important step to protecting your loved one’s rights and their physical and emotional health.

What is a Care Plan?

Think of a nursing home care plan as a game plan for how the staff of a nursing home will help a resident, making sure their needs are being met in a way that is consistent with their values and goals.

A plan of care outlines, in writing, the specific duties that each nursing home staff member will perform in caring for a resident, including what to do and when to do it.

It Starts With An Assessment

Initially, the nursing home must conduct a comprehensive and precise assessment of your loved one’s functional ability. The primary source of this assessment is the interaction with the resident. Along with gathering important health/medical information, this helps develop an accurate understanding of the resident’s needs as a person and how they live beyond their medical requirements. 

The assessments help the nursing home’s staff understand how well your loved one can take care of themselves, including functional abilities such as talking, walking, bathing, remembering, etc.

The assessment also has requirements under federal law to examine important areas of physical, mental, and emotional well-being, such as:

  • demographic information
  • customary routine
  • mood and behavior patterns
  • psycho-social well-being

Assessments are an ongoing process as the resident’s needs and interests change over time.

Are There Legal Aspects to Care Plans in Nursing Homes?

According to federal nursing home laws & regulations, care plans in nursing homes must include measurable objectives (with timetables) that address the resident’s particular requirements. The care plan must also list specific actions that are to be taken to meet those objectives, either reaching or maintaining the resident’s highest level of psycho-social, mental and physical welfare.

As long as a court has not determined that the resident is incompetent, federal law also covers the resident’s rights to:

  • Select a personal physician.
  • Be fully informed, in advance, of all care and treatment, including any changes to that care and treatment.

What is a Nursing Home Care Plan Meeting?

The nursing home care plan meeting is a time for the residents, resident’s family, and the nursing home staff to review all aspects of the resident’s life at the nursing home, such as:

  • Personal schedule
  • Activities
  • Meals
  • Emotional needs
  • Therapies
  • Nursing and medical care

Each of the groups working with the resident should be represented at the meeting (physician, nurse, dietician, social worker, occupational therapist, etc.). A legal representative for the resident may also attend.

The care plan meeting is an opportunity for you to share insightful background information about your loved one and to raise questions or concerns. Attending care plan meetings is one of the best ways to stay informed about how your friend or family member’s needs are being met.

What is the Timetable for Care Plans?

  • Assessments must be done within 14 days of a new resident being admitted to the facility.
  • Assessments must be done yearly (at a minimum) and when a resident’s condition experiences a significant change.
  • Care plan meetings must take place quarterly (every three months) and when a resident’s condition experiences a significant change.

Understanding the nursing home care plan of someone you hold dear, and participating in its development, is an excellent way to make sure that they are getting proper person-directed care, supporting their physical and mental health and emotional well-being.

The lawyers at Dansky | Katz | Ringold are passionate about protecting your family and friends. For dedicated & compassionate lawyers contact us to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.  

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