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Top 10 things to understand about your care plan

By Anna Millicer

Care plans are a necessary and important part of receiving a Home Care Package. A good care plan begins with a range of comprehensive assessments that help build a picture of each consumer as an individual, followed by matching suitable services and
supports to meet those assessed needs. 

Your assessments, goals, care plan and budget are all inter-connected, and they guide the way your package funds are allocated every month.

Here are the top 10 things you most need to know about care plans:

1. Every home care package consumer must receive a copy of their care plan within 14 days of commencing a home care agreement.

2. As your provider, we must work in partnership with you to develop and agree on the care plan goals and actions.

3. Your ACAT assessment and our care assessments are the joint foundations for your care plan development. It doesn’t matter how long ago your ACAT assessment occurred – those issues are the reason you were approved for the package you have today.

4. Your goals, needs and preferences should be reflected in your care plan –and because everyone is different, it must be individually tailored to your specific needs.

5. It must be reviewed and updated at least once every 12 months or as your needs change, for example, if you have been in hospital, experienced a deterioration in health, or if other circumstances have changed for you.

6. Your package level and budget is matched to your care needs and is meant to be fully utilised to meet those assessed needs. Unless you need to accumulate funds for something specific, there is usually no need to ‘save for a rainy day’.

7. Your care plan should include your goals, and the actions and services in place to help you meet those goals.

8. It should include all the informal care and supports you receive to help you meet your goals, even if the package doesn’t pay directly for them, including the help your family, friends and others provide to you.

9. Relevant parts of your care plan should be shared with people who will be helping you to meet your goals, such as support workers, nurses etc.

10. It should be a flexible document that changes and updates when new supports and services are recommended for you. All package spending needs to be aligned with your care plan.

You can help to keep your care plan up-to-date by ensuring your support workers and care manager are aware of any changes, and by participating in the necessary updates when new services and supports are recommended or required. 

Anna Millicer has worked in community aged care for 30 years and has spent over 10 years collaborating with providers, consumers and government to pioneer evidence-based Consumer Directed Care and consumer self-management models in Australia. With a focus on genuine consumer engagement, Anna now shares her knowledge to achieve the best outcomes for consumers, carers and home care providers alike.

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