First Step Toward Developing a Care Plan


Why bother with a care plan, you might ask — don’t I have enough to do!?  The most important reason is this — an individualized care plan ensures continuity of care.  For example, you may need a substitute or assistant, and a care plan will help that person immensely.  In addition, it will ease the anxiety of the person you’re caring for, knowing their needs will be met.

It gives you and your loved one a comforting structure.  If at all possible, you should include your family member in its development.  This will give them a sense of control and dignity, and you will learn more about their concerns.

It will help you monitor the person’s changing condition, at which time the care plan can be revised.  This may also signal it’s time to notify their doctor to see if an evaluation or change of medicine is needed.

A care plan offers structure and organization, key elements in controlling your stress level.  You won’t be spending sleepless nights worrying that you’ve missed something important to their care.


A care plan can include anything that you and the receiver want or need.  Think of it as an action plan in progress as it will need modifications to coincide with their changing condition.

Start by doing a Care Assessment, which is simply a list of current concerns.  This will give you a strong base upon which to build.  The list below will help you get started and is also available by clicking the link above or looking under the category of Forms & Templates. Things to consider might include the following:

Does the person …

  • Drive?
  • Do laundry?
  • Bathe/shave/shampoo/brush teeth?
  • Dress without assistance?
  • Attend school or have home schooling?
  • Attend church?
  • Climb stairs?
  • Prepare meals and feed self?
  • Walk without assistance?
  • Schedule medical/dental appointments?
  • Pay bills?
  • Understand simple directions (written or verbal)?
  • Use the phone/cell phone/email?
  • Have problems with balance/falls/hearing/vision?
  • Do basic housekeeping (dust, vacuum, sweep, clean bathroom, wash dishes, etc.)?
  • Take medications responsibly?
  • Manage medical equipment (example:  oxygen)?
  • Feed and care for pets?
  • Speak coherently?
  • Use the toilet?
  • Get the mail?
  • Get help if needed?
  • Handle yard work?

You may think of other items for your list, but this is a good starting point.  When you’re ready, read the post on how to develop the written plan itself. 

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