Understanding care plans in assisted living communities

June 24, 2024

Healthy Aging
older couple sitting on a couch smiling looking at a laptop

If you’re researching assisted living, you should also understand care plans. Understanding care plans in assisted living communities can help ensure your loved one receives comprehensive care. Riverside Senior Living takes a deep dive into care plans for assisted living communities. Get details and learn why they’re so important. 

Understanding care plans in assisted living

An assisted living care plan focuses on all aspects of your loved one’s needs and wants, along with preferences related to those needs. The individual, their family and the assisted living community staff create this plan together. The assisted living community then uses the care plan as a “blueprint” to guide the person’s lifestyle and care in the community. An assisted living care plan helps the person receive the proper level of care while also helping them to better adjust to their new community. It also allows the community staff to have an in depth understanding of the person’s needs and wants. Care plans are started at the time your loved one moves into assisted living and are updated as their care needs change or annually.

Components of a care plan 

Having a care plan in place allows the assisted living community to provide individualized person-centered care. An assisted living care plan includes setting goals and objectives for care in three key areas:

  1. Medical needs. This part of the care plan considers the person’s health conditions and medical background. This component also ensures the person has a medical power of attorney or a trusted health care decision-maker.
  2. Physical needs. Often, a move to assisted living is spurred by an increased need for help with activities of daily living. The care plan will cover what help, if any, your loved one needs with bathing, dressing, toileting and other physical needs. The goal is to provide the proper amount of physical oversight to help your loved one be safe while attending to their needs. 
  3. Social needs and activities. No matter what age you are, adjusting to a new social setting takes time. Before your loved one moves into assisted living, review the social and religious offerings with them and identify some items of interest. The care plan will address religious preferences and social areas of interest and puts a plan in place to make sure your loved one attends the activities of their choice. 

“It is important that family participates in their loved one’s care planning,’ explains assisted living director, Wanda Jones. “Families are their loved one’s best advocate and can share valuable insights and perspectives. It is our job to anticipate and prevent adverse health events rather than waiting and reacting. We are your partner in your loved one’s care.” 

Collaboration and communication in care planning

Creating a care plan involves getting input from all the key players involved in the person’s care. Assisted living care plan creation often includes:

  • Doctor evaluation. The person’s primary care provider will fill out a form with details a
  • bout their health care background and needs for ongoing care. The doctor evaluation provides the assisted living community with detailed information on the person from a medical standpoint.
  • Family and resident evaluation. The assisted living community will ask the individual and their loved ones a series of questions about their personality, habits and lifestyle. You should candidly and completely answer these questions to the best of your ability. This evaluation gives the community an accurate picture of the person’s personality, likes, needs and preferences, and what to expect in their care.
  • Nurse evaluation. This evaluation involves one or more nurses at the assisted living community completing a comprehensive assessment of the person’s current medical status and physical needs for ongoing support. The nurse evaluation takes into account and expands upon the doctor evaluation, as needed.

“Once the care plan is in place, expect regular check-ins about how care is going,” says Jones. Ask assisted living community leadership how often they review care plans and how they engage family members for needed updates and ongoing support.

Find the right assisted living community

If you’re exploring options for assisted living communities, we understand the choices can be overwhelming. A great place to start narrowing down your options is by looking at the community’s levels of care. The higher the needs of the individual, the more expansive care options they’ll likely need to support their medical and social needs and to maintain their quality of life. 

Assisted living levels of care

Assisted living communities base the levels of care on how much support a person needs with their activities of daily living (ADLs). These include simple tasks that most of us complete every day with little thought, including dressing, bathing and toileting. Assisted living levels of care may include:

 Level  What to expect Cost 
 I  Little to no assistance completing ADLs, medication management   $
 II  Hands-on assistance with one to two ADLs  $$
 III  Hands-on assistance with multiple ADLs from multiple caregivers  $$$

Learn more about our assisted living care plans

If you’re researching assisted living options for you or a loved one, we’re here to help. Start by exploring what Riverside Senior Living has to offer.

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