The Care Plan (CP) that I just call the Blue Bible is supposed to contain all the important information of the assignment. I should be able to learn all the essentials about the customer from this regularly updated pile of information. This particular CP was created in February 2016 and was supposed to be updated in May 2016. Since Mr.J. has Alzheimer’s that, unfortunately, deteriorates rapidly, it would have been advisable to review the CP a bit more regularly. It has not been so far (Nov 2017). So, I mostly rely on the additional scribbled notes I get from the regular carer and – in this case – the family who are kindly involved in Mr.J.’life.

Nevertheless, it is worth having a look at it. It is full of impracticalities such as the nine pages of ‘Equal Opportunities’, ‘Terms and Conditions’, ‘Confirmation of receipt’, ‘Confirmation of Instruction’, and a ‘Privacy Statement’. It is actually not written for the carer but the customer and his/her family. Then we have the ‘Internal Environment Assessment’ that lets us know where the smoke detector is, the escape routes, how the house is heater, if there is a fire extinguisher in the house, and other important hazardous factors. Then we have the ‘External Environment Assessment’ to advise about any safety hazard in the immediate external environment. The beginning of the CP contains most of the important contact information and support network such as relatives, doctors, hospitals, etc. In this particular CP, since it has not been updated for quite some time, it says that Mr.J. has not given powers of attorney to anyone. Except that it is not true anymore. He has given P.A. to his children. I do not recall when exactly.

Then, there is the ‘Care Assessment’, that should be the most important part of the CP for the carer. This is the section that should tell me exactly the specifics of the job, what to watch out for, what this person specifically needs, what his needs are.

Well, the first page of this section says the date of this plan, the supposed review date and the mangers name. The next page says what is important to Mr.J. Let’s see. It says that Mr.J. has a wife who is in a nursing home and that he misses her very much; he likes gardening; his family is important to him; he has no pets; he lives in his own home; he has no cultural or religious preferences; and that he requires no further support but what it states in this care plan. This is the bit where my blood pressure starts rising! It also says nothing about his eyesight except that he wears glasses, so someone made a handwritten note here saying that he has ‘nactular degeneration’ (I am not even sure that I can read it right).

Then it states that he is independent of hearing, except that he has hearing aids that he does not like very much so the carer must insist on him wearing them when he goes to see his wife. Where it asks how Mr.J. would like to be supported, it says that he is independent and requires no support. Then it says that his memory is not as good as it used to be. Well, it is a huge understatement. It also says that he is independent financially which is completely untrue. I do not know for how long he has not been allowed to carry any money or credit cards with him, but last time I took an assignment with Mr.J. back in May, he had not been given any money for some time. Basically, it says that he is independent in his life. Apart from his Alzheimer’s he has rheumatism in both his hands that prevents him to grab hold of things easily so when eating, the food need to be cut up for him slightly.*

The next page is about his medications saying who orders the meds and when. The next page is about ‘Personal Care/Moving and Handling’. It says that he is independent with his personal care and he is able to walk independently. Well, apart from the fact that he had an accident in May on his left hip and he need a wheelchair to move about when outside, he is rather independent in his own ‘moving and handling’.

The next page is about ‘Nutrition and Hydration’. Here you can learn that Mr.J. likes most foods and drinks; he needs to be cooked for and the food served; that he eats and drinks independently; and the carer must be aware of the correct standard of hygiene when preparing and handling food.* Then it talks about a couple of risk and hazard factors such as cross contamination.
The next page is about housekeeping. The CP thoroughly explains how to wash cloths with detergent and that Mr.J. has a dishwasher; – it does not say how to use it or where to find the instruction booklet; – that the bed sheets need to be changed weekly – but it does not say where the clean bed sheets are located -; finally, it states how to keep the kitchen tidy.

And that is it. This is my guidance for taking good care of Mr. J. I cannot help but wonder how carers and customers survive along such thorough guidance.

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The Blue Bible