The Care Plan

  • Who can visit my adult child if now or in the future s/he is hospitalized and I am unable to?
  • Who can ensure that his/her home is clean and safe?
  • Who can help with household repairs?
  • Who can help ensure continued government benefits?
  • Who can help my adult child communicate with friends and family?
  • Who can help handle my adult child's money?
  • Where can my adult child live?
  • Who can be there to observe and celebrate my adult child's birthday?
  • Who can assure that my adult child has adequate and enriching social opportunities?
  • Who can make sure my adult child is able to practice his/her religion?

To answer these questions, and give you confidence and peace of mind, you need to plan ahead. You need a Care Plan.

What is a Care Plan?

A Care Plan is a comprehensive, individualized description of your family members' life and needs. It is a guide to future care-givers, informing them of whatever you think they should know to fill in for you when you can no longer provide care.

A Care Plan describes the special-needs person, his/her needs, history, tastes, likes and dislikes, medication, favorites and preferences, needs. It describes the government benefits and programs he/she utilizes, the doctors she/he sees, the counselors he/she has visited, his/her diagnosis, her/his family contacts and friends.

If well-prepared, a Care Plan can ensure that a follow-on Care Giver can hit the ground running, and provide a continuity quality of care, keeping your loved one safe, happy, and on the road to recovery.

Care Plans do not substitute for a carefully-drafted Special Needs Trust. Rather, it helps direct and shape the trust, and aids those who will be using the trust funds for the best interests of the beneficiary.

What every care giver/parent should know about a Care Plan

Introduction

Every family with an adult child with mental health challenges must plan for that person's future. Each family's plan is unique, depending on many factors, including the age and ability of the adult child, his/her wishes, aspirations, personality, medical situation, and degree of independence. The plan will also be affected by the possible contribution of siblings and the family's financial circumstances. What such planning should have in common are: a properly-drawn trust that reflects the needs of the adult child, and a written Care Plan that will enable the continuation of long-term, effective, and personalized care. When both of these are in place, both the person with special needs and his/her family can have peace of mind, knowing that the whole family's needs have been addressed.

Ages of Parents and Child

Planning for a seven year old is very different from planning for a 45 year old. With many children with challenges, for example, their future capabilities are often unknown. But, once a person reaches 22 to 30 years of age, parents usually can determine the level of assistance and supervision their loved one may need for the rest of his/her life. Therefore, a Care Plan for an adult child can be more specific, and will require less revision over time

The ages of the child and the parents are important for another reason – financial planning. Each family's budget is different, as is the family's dependence on Social Security and other government benefits.

Severity of the MENTAL HEALTH CHALLENGE

The severity of the mental health challenge is the key element in the planning process. Some individuals require round-the-clock supervision. Others can live with relative independence, and require occasional oversight or help with transportation, errands, and household tasks. PLANCTX can support your family in the manner, and at the level, that your family needs.

Role of Siblings

Most parents do not want to leave a burden to their other adult. That is why many look elsewhere for a caregiver, to either assist siblings, or fill a more active role. In some situations, a sibling may serve as the Trustee of a Special Needs Trust.

Key Elements in Every Family's Planning

All parents with children with mental health challenges should consider establishing a Special Needs Trust. This website has lots of information about these trusts and how they work. It is critical, however, that you consult an attorney knowledgeable and experienced about these trust arrangements. PLANCTX can provide you with names of attorneys who have helped parents in similar positions develop lasting arrangements that ensure that their wishes for care carry on. We can also provide you with suggestions for financial planners, to help identify your goals and reach them.

A Trust should be accompanied by an individually-tailored Care Plan. PLAN can help you develop such a plan, which will instruct future care-givers about the history, tastes, needs, and aspirations of your loved one. 

Care Plans are vitally needed for families with a disabled person, because parents — the current caregivers — are in the best position to describe what makes their adult child tick, what makes them sad or happy, and what does and does not work. This information needs to be passed on to future care-givers, to ensure that future care is effective, compassionate, and tailored to the individual involved.

Conclusion

It's easy to put off long-term planning. Yet, such planning is essential if the parent wants to be assured that their adult child will receive the care they need for as long as they need it. The alternative is to leave things to chance, not have the parent's wishes taken into account, and risk relapses and homelessness. Careful planning requires guidance and expertise. It is not easy work. The good news is that PLAN of Central Texas, founded and governed by a Board including parents and siblings in your position, is here to help.

How to Develop a Care Plan

It may be necessary to meet three times to properly establish an effective Care Plan.

1. INITIAL MEETING: Information for the Family or Guardian & Association is Established

  • The family hears about the PLANCTX, Inc. community and decides to associate with it.
  • A Service Agreement is created and signed; Care Planning is paid for by the family at an hourly rate. 
  • Opportunity is provided to learn of your planning options and how a Care Plan can benefit your family
  • The family learns how benefits can be protected
  • The family asks any questions they have about PLAN and the procedures to come

2. SECOND MEETING: Care Plan Meeting

  • Family describes the person for whom a trust is to be created
  • Strengths, needs, tastes, hobbies, and likes of the individual are discussed
  • Residential, oversight, and monitoring needs are set forth
  • Financial planning is discussed. 
  • Medical monitoring is planned, if needed
  • Social and emotional support are discussed and planned
  • All of this (and other) information is gathering into a Care Plan document

3. THIRD MEETING

  • Family/Guardian reviews draft of Care Plan and budget, and makes any changes they see fit
  • Family takes Care Plan and model trust agreement to their attorney
  • PLAN's Executive Director, on behalf of the Board of Directors, reviews and accepts your Care Plan

 Some subjects that may be addressed in a Care Plan

  • Vital Information, such as the person's social security number, date of birth, blood type and citizenship
  • Languages
  • Religion
  • Cities where they have lived
  • Siblings and other family members and contact information
  • Marital status
  • Other significant relationships
  • Key friends and social contacts
  • Guardians
  • Trustee information
  • Power of attorney & Medical Power of attorney
  • Representative payees
  • Funeral or burial arrangements
  • Medical diagnoses
  • Medical cautions: such as allergies to medicines, seizures
  • Functioning level(s)
  • Vision
  • Hearing
  • Speech
  • Mobility
  • Insurance availability and coverage
  • Regular physicians
  • Therapists
  • Physical therapist and other medical providers
  • Prescriptions & Pharmacy information
  • Dentist and dental information
  • Nursing history and needs
  • Diagnostic testing results
  • Genetic testing results
  • History of disease(s)
  • Hygienic procedures
  • Operations
  • Hospitalization
  • Recreational activities
  • Hobbies
  • Skills
  • Accomplishments
  • Birth control and sexual information
  • Adaptive or prosthetic devices
  • Over-the-counter medicines
  • Diet preferences and restrictions
  • What has worked well
  • What has not worked well
  • Community associations
  • Volunteer activities
  • Employment
  • Favorites
  • Self-esteem
  • Sleep habits
  • Personal finances, assets, investments, and debts
  • Income sources
  • Schools
  • Integrations with peers and others
  • Day programs
  • Vacation history, preferences, wishes, and restrictions
  • Fitness activities and preferences
  • Clergy and faith congregation attendance
  • Rights and values that are important to the person
  • Wills
  • Location of safe deposit boxes
  • Life Insurance
  • Trust information
  • Government programs, entitlements, and eligibility

Care Plan FAQs

What's PLANCTX's role in all of this?

It is to help families draft a thorough and effective Care Plan. And, if the family wishes, we will be there to carry out the Plan, along with a Trustee administering a Special Needs Trust.

To become aN ASSOCIATE of PLANCTX, must I develop a Care Plan?

No. But, we hope you will, both for your own piece of mind, and to ensure lasting care for your loved one.

How much will it cost to develop a Care Plan?

The cost varies with the situation and complexities of different families and different disabled individuals. Usually, a Care Plan can be put together in 5 to 7 hours for under $600.

How can I get answers to my questions about Care Plans?

Call PLAN of Central Texas at 512-851-0901, and talk to our Executive Director. You can also email us.

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October 2015