Better Planning

Forward planning for both caregivers and those who are being supported should be of a high standard. Person-centred planning should focus on SMART targets and lead to life-affirming outcomes.

(for carers and those they are supporting)

Placing undue responsibilities on hard-pressed carers can result in feelings of overload and constant worry. Unsurprisingly, such concerns may lead to nervous tension and failure in fulfilling tasks. Skilful and sensitive planning for improvement for someone being supported helps to resolve unwanted apprehension and distress.

Effective partnerships are essential across professionals, voluntary services and everyone being assisted. Designing integrated care and support strategies encompasses a clear-cut focus on the personal, health, psychological and social requirements of individuals. This process demands attention and responsiveness to a wide spectrum of both private and shared factors. At all stages, it will be necessary to give due consideration to confidentiality and the right of access to information. It may be time-consuming but has many advantages. Making effective use of a dynamic person-centred approach provides both numerous insights and worthwhile guidance. Over time, it can and should result in a highly desirable range of planned outcomes.

Good practice entails giving thoughtful consideration to the views and evaluations of everybody being assisted, including caregivers. What are their private, social, emotional and cognitive needs? Are they able to pinpoint their apprehensions and emotions accurately? In which life skills – for instance in shopping, preparing meals and hygiene – are they self-sufficient and skilled? What would be the best practical interventions? Relevant answers to such questions, along with exploring and resolving medical issues, are extremely helpful.

Customised recommendations arising from assessments should be incorporated into forward planning. High quality plans contain what are called SMART targets – objectives which are Specific (stated clearly), Measurable (able to show how well they have been accomplished), Achievable (realistic and doable), Relevant (meaningful within the current situation) and Timed (have a schedule for being undertaken and re-evaluated). If implemented efficiently, the ensuing courses of action will foster ease and peace of mind and sustain a proper quality of everyday living for all involved.

Conclusions and recommendations:

  • A well-tailored, personalised plan for action should only be created after the needs of individuals have been carefully and fully assessed.
  • Through effective planning both those being cared for and their carers benefit from genuine compassion and encouragement.
  • The suggestions of persons being helped and carers are crucial when short- and long-term aims and goals of plans are being devised. These should cover recognised strengths and positive proposals for future development.
  • As an intrinsic part of this process, appropriate decision-making entails appraisal of particular contexts and circumstances such as financial difficulties, inadequate living accommodation and mental health.
  • All aspects of planning ought to include due attention to both confidentiality and the right of access to information.
  • A key feature of first-class planning is its focus on SMART targets. Good plans will state clearly how all objectives are to be achieved.
  • The finalised proposals and arrangements should outline the agreed commitments and assistance which will be made available in a coordinated manner by voluntary and professional staff and services.
  • A comprehensive plan will contain a timetable for the overall review of progress and for reflection on what further steps might be necessary at a later stage.
All in need of care and their caregivers should be the recipients of authentic empathy, affirmation and high-quality planning.

Please see the post entitled “Evaluating the Quality of Carer Support Plans and Statements” for further comments on how planning could be improved and implemented.