Health Care Plan

Develop a Health Care Plan

 Health Care Plans Include It All

     Healthcare workers periodically receive reminders that they treat patients, not conditions.  If you’re not in healthcare, you may think that’s an odd thing to need to remind them to remember, but the “system” sets them up to forget. Healthcare professionals tend to focus almost exclusively on the patient’s health care plan from the patient’s point of admission to discharge. All discussions zoom in on the diagnosis. Furthermore, confidentiality is extremely important in the healthcare world. So much so that everyone deliberately tries to keep from using a patient’s name in public.

“Condition”- al Identity

     When you don’t use a name, the person in 743 ceases to be an individual and becomes the patient in 743 with a cerebral vascular accident (stroke). Thus, health care plans and medical conditions become the patient’s “identity,” and he becomes known as the “stroke” in 743. Therefore, it’s not surprising that once he is ready to go home, the discharge planning focuses only on the stroke. The discharge plan does not include instructions on what to do for other medical conditions possibly impacted by the stroke.  

Sum of All Ailments

     Consequently, it’s up to the caregiver to remember that their family member is the sum of all their medical conditions and not just the one for which he or she received medical care.  Remember to ask your healthcare provider about what to do if that might have occurred. Once you have all these details, it’s time to begin developing a health care plan.

What is a Health Care Plan?

A “health care plan” or “plan of care” is simply an organized approach to how you will provide care to your family member and a process you will use to help you know if your plan is working.

Getting Started

     Before you start, you need to know the following:

  1. What are your family member’s health problems? You want all of them. Not just the top three. You need the entire list so you can tell if new complications develop. Anything new that occurs from this point forward could indicate a side effect of something or a new problem developing that requires you to call the doctor.


  1. What is the goal for each problem that you are treating? For example, is the medical problem something you are trying to heal, and your goal is to complete recovery or maintain his current level of progress? Either way, you must know where your current baseline stands now to determine if you are making progress or losing ground.

     Okay, let’s get started.


When developing a Health Care Plan, look at your family member's complete health needs.
When developing a Health Care Plan, look at your family member’s complete health needs.

Start Your Health Care Plan with a Problem List

Starting Your Problem List   

  If you have access to your family member’s medical record, start your problem list by looking at what the doctor has listed as their problem list. Using this list will tell you if your family member is receiving care for a medical condition and how long the condition may have existed. You can also tell if the doctor feels the condition no longer which conditions your family member is a concern. For example, you may discover a discontinued medication or one with the wrong dosage. At the very least, it’s a good starting place for you and your family member to begin discussing their health.

Gain Access to Your Family Member’s Health Record

     If you currently do not have access to their medical record, get it. Most clinics and health organizations have a process for the patient to authorize someone else to access their records–Look under medical records or data requests for the process. Use this access to track lab reports and to communicate concerns with your family member’s doctor. It’s your best tool for keeping up with what is happening to your family member.

Create Written Problem List

     After you go through the record, write down all the active (conditions that are still needing care or treatment) problems, the approximate date they started (if known) and the date last treated or evaluated), and what care is occurring at this time (status). Then, see a sample form below.


Date Started

Last Treated


High blood sugar



Taking extra insulin while the foot is infected

Foot ulcer



2 in wide/2 inch long/ ¼ inch deep

Trouble seeing



It may be due to elevated blood sugar related to foot ulcer

Trouble hearing



Appointment scheduled for hearing aid evaluation

Difficulty walking



Using rollator due to foot ulcer

Infection in foot



On antibiotics

Pain in foot



On Tylenol for pain

Trouble sleeping



Sleeping with the foot elevated and using pain medicine just before bedtime.


Interview Your Family Member

After you list everything from the medical record, ask your family member if they have any health concerns they treat with over-the-counter medicines or other health concerns.  List all symptoms not previously listed.  You may want to take notes on a separate sheet of paper and summarize them after you interview your family member. It is not uncommon for someone to repeat information more than once or out of sequence if it’s a topic of significant concern to them.

Keep the List Where You Can Access It Easily

     Once you feel you have a complete list, ask your family member to review it with you.  If others in the family also know his medical history, you may also ask them if anything is missing. Once final, update the list if anything changes. Keep it electronically on your phone or keep it on paper if you prefer. You want to access it for medical appointments or hospital admissions if a healthcare provider has questions about related conditions. It will help when your mind goes blank during an emergency and medical history is needed.