Care plans are often on my mind, but this week more so. Why? well first I have an ongoing internal battle with the term ‘care plan’ that I must declare. I find the term reinforces the sick role (needing care) and as such is counter to the values underpinning wellbeing and recovery – that said, being ‘caring’ is an essential attribute to health care workers and providing evidence based, person centred care is central to building a culture of compassionate care.
Back to care plans on my mind, this week two things happened:
Thing 1. I participated in an event – Using data to improve care – where I met and was involved in a conversation with Reg Race from Quality Health (they conduct the National Mental Health Service User Survey). Reg spoke about the national picture of about one third of service users reporting that they have a care plan. He suggested that care plans should be no more than a couple of pages long.
Thing 2. I was pointed to a blog posted by @ermintrude2: Care Plans – Now and Future Me. Ermintrude’s blog was prompted by reading another blog (so yes, thats two to read, stick with the link). They illustrate the importance of language through highlighting how the terms used in health and social care (plans) can be dehumanising and reductionist. That the interpretation of a care plan can result in choice becoming limited, static in a moment in time. I could point to a list of best practice in relation to care planning; or something similar but on this occasion I urge you to read then mull, ponder, reflect or just give it some thought.
These two things together remind me of the importance of stepping back and reflecting on what we do and how we do it. The Care Programme Approach care plan in Leeds and York Partnerships NHS Foundation Trust is more than a couple of pages long. For sure. And how easy is it to ditch the jargon, to write in straightforward, Plain English? It’s hard, it’s letting go of a lot of what we are familiar with, its giving up some professional identity and perceived ‘power’ that goes with it ( if you have not already done so).
I’m leaving it there for now. Time to ponder.