Care and Support Planning: it’s time to stop talking and start doing

Today, Lynne Craven writes about why it is time to stop talking about care and support planning and start doing… Written to coincide with the publication of C4CC partner, National Voices’, discussion paper – ‘What is the role of VCSE organisations in care and support planning?’ as part of their Wellbeing Our Way programme. Join the conversation at #PlanForLife

The NHS is creaking, under pressure to provide more with less. Morale among staff is generally low and this cannot be conducive for building collaborative partnerships with patients.

Time – there just isn’t enough, and yet time spent now will save time later. The same goes for money, spend today, save tomorrow.

Those two things are required – time and money – if collaborative care and support plans are going to be available to the people with long-term conditions who want one. People like me.

We were promised care plans in 2010, we keep being promised personalised care. There’s even a model for it. There are probably some lucky people out there who have had collaborative conversations with health professionals committed to partnership working. I’m a patient (sometimes – mostly I’m a person) committed to partnership working and yet, even though I’ve asked, I’ve still not got a care plan.

A plan that I’ve made with a healthcare professional, that is recorded somewhere so it can be reviewed. One that is centred on my preferences and takes into account my social and emotional needs as well as what I need medically. One that goes across secondary and primary care. And one that is dynamic, that changes as I change and adapts as I adapt.

If we look at the House of Care model we can see that personalised care and support planning conversations happen when engaged patients meet with clinicians committed to partnership working in a system that is supportive. All the elements are required. The reason it’s not happening with me at the moment I think is because the system isn’t supporting it. The system treats me as a passive recipient; I see the doctor to receive results rather than seeing the doctor to discuss results I’ve received in advance.

I am not a passive patient, I’m one of the ‘activated’ ones; making a collaborative care and support plan with me should be fairly straightforward. What about the people who are less engaged with their health, who perhaps are less health literate than me? Who probably need a care and support plan more than I do?

Surely it’s time to start doing, we’ve talked for long enough. It is happening in pockets, there are tools to help from charities and national bodies. There is evidence that it uses resources better in the long run. We just need to get on with it… Please while I’m still healthy enough!

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About Lynne

Lynne Craven has lived with MS since the age of 34, and has added familial hypercholesterolaemia and under active thyroid along the way. Lynne is a member of the Royal College of General Practitioners’ Network of Champions for Collaborative Care and Support Planning. She tweets at @sm_partnership and sometimes uses #getLynneacareplan to make the point that she wants one.

About Wellbeing Our Way

Wellbeing Our Way brings together community and voluntary organisations to share innovative approaches for empowering people to manage their health and work towards their personal goals; make decisions about the care, support and treatment they receive; and engage with and shape health and care support. To find out more about Wellbeing Our Way, please contact natalie.koussa@nationalvoices.org.uk

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