Your health, your way

Your NHS guide to long-term conditions and self care

What is a care plan?

Everyone with a long-term condition can have a care plan if they want one.

A care plan is an agreement between you and your health professional (or social services) to help you manage your health day to day. It can be a written document or something recorded in your patient notes.

Everyone who has a long-term condition can take part in making their care plan. It helps to assess what care you need and how it will be provided.

If you think a care plan could help you, talk to your GP, nurse or social worker about the support you need to manage your condition better. Mention things that are important to you and any goals you want to work towards. These can range from losing weight or stopping smoking, to going out more or getting back to work.

Also, try to talk about anything that might be worrying you. For example, some people want to talk about how lonely or anxious they feel.

By talking about your care plan with your GP, nurse or social worker, you can say how you want to manage your health and choose what's best for you. The care plan will be based on what you want so you're in control.

The care plan is designed to help you, rather than the GP and other healthcare workers that look after you. It will cover areas including:

  • the goals you want to work towards, such as getting out of the house more, returning to work, or starting a hobby
  • the support services you want, who is in charge of providing these services, what the support services have agreed to do, and when they will do it
  • emergency numbers, such as who you should contact if you become very unwell and your doctor's surgery is closed
  • medicines
  • an eating plan
  • an exercise plan

Make sure you say what's important to you and that you're happy with any decisions that are put into the plan. Unless health and social care workers know what you want, they can't put it in.

Usually your care plan will be printed out for you to take home. If you're not given a paper copy, ask for one. Your care plan may also be stored in your GP practice's computer system.

All the information in the care plan is private, seen only by you and the people who give you care or support. If you want someone else to be allowed to see the care plan, you can say so.

Your plan will be looked over at fixed times as part of a care plan review. You can have a care plan review at least once a year. You can also ask for one if you feel the care plan isn't working or if other things in your life change.

Page last reviewed: 07/11/2014

Next review due: 07/11/2016

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