What is a care plan in aged care?    

If you or a loved one are looking for some support in older age, then you might have already heard mention of a care plan for aged care.

So exactly what is a care plan in aged care, how is one developed, and how will it relate to your individual support and lifestyle? Let’s take a closer look at the details.

Understanding care plans and their purpose    

First, let’s answer the most basic question: what is a care plan in a nursing home or aged care home? Whether you are receiving care at home, or in residential care:


A care plan is a confidential, ever-evolving document that outlines the unique care needs, preferences and objectives for a person receiving care. 

This resource helps you, your family, friends and your care team to understand exactly how you’d like to be supported in your everyday life. 

What is included in a care plan?    

If the right support option for you is moving into aged care, your care plan will outline important day-to-day details so you can be cared for in comfort and how you choose to be. 

These details can be varied, from any dietary requirements and preferences, to any tablets you take, to the languages you speak, to what makes you happy and how you like to spend your time. It can set out social, mobility, sensory, cultural and spiritual needs, and how best to support these. A care plan can even include how you like your cup of tea to be prepared! 

Just as no two people are exactly alike, no two care plans should be exactly alike. This is because each person’s needs, preferences and objectives are unique.

How do aged care homes use care plans?    

A care plan in aged care facility provides a clear, collaborative document to keep everyone on the same page about how to support you – from your nurses and carers, to your loved ones, to catering and facilities staff. This document can really help to ease the transition to aged care and support your independence so you can live life fully. 

At Aurrum Aged Care, for example, your care plan might incorporate: 

  • Any specific requirements for chef-prepared meals
  • Any clinical care programs including specialist cognitive or memory support care
  • Any requirements for allied health services
  • Any prescribed medications, and when these need to be taken
  • Any support needed when it comes to safety and comfort
  • Any potential risks to watch out for, such as falls or losing weight.

A detailed care plan also extends to your social interests which can be just as vital as physical care. You may like to visit art galleries and museums, have a regular massage to relieve pain, or take part in art and craft sessions to keep your mind active. Your care team can provide the support for these things to happen.

How do I get an aged care plan? 

If you access government-subsidised aged care in Australia, your provider will develop an aged care plan with you. So how do you go about finding aged care support in the first place?  

If you’re 65 or older (or 50+ for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people) and things don’t feel as easy as they used to be, then you can arrange a My Aged Care assessment. This government-funded service can help you to identify the best option to suit your support needs including the choice of home care, retirement village living or aged care facilities. 

Who might be involved in your care plan?    

An effective aged care plan is best developed together with all the people who will be providing support to you. You might be creating your tailored care plan with the following people.


Care managers & care workers

As you enter residential aged care, the care team at your chosen aged care home will sit down with you and ask questions about who you are, your personality, your lifestyle and your health and wellbeing. These details help us get to know you, and together we’ll build the foundations of your care plan.


Your GP 

Lots of people have medical needs and these can often become more complex with age. Your doctor can provide invaluable input into how you can best be supported in an aged care setting. You can have your doctor contribute to and review your care plan at any time.


Your loved ones    

Here at Aurrum we encourage your family and friends to be involved in the care planning process if you’d like them to be. You can have your spouse, children, friends or other loved ones help to fine-tune a care plan that’s ideal for your unique needs and preferences.


Allied health professionals

Perhaps you use reading glasses, have regular physiotherapy, wear hearing aids or visit a speech pathologist. We take all of these things into account in your aged care plan so we can help you access any required support from your allied health network.


Spiritual and cultural supports   

Your care team will also ask about any of your cultural or spiritual needs so we can be sure to support these important aspects of your life. For example, if you attend religious services regularly we can work with your place of worship to ensure you’re supported in your faith. 

Additional questions about aged care plans   

You may have further questions when it comes to care plans in aged care. Here are some more details on how these documents can change and evolve.


How often is a care plan reviewed and updated? 

A care plan is a living document, and it’s designed to be updated any time there are changes in your care needs, choices or objectives. Care plans are ideally updated at least every 12 months, but they’re typically updated much more often. For example, your care plan will be updated if you change to different tablets, or if your food tastes change.

Can I make changes to my care plan?    

Of course, at any time. You can simply speak to your care team and they’ll make sure your care plan is updated. This documentation is designed to centre around you, your choices and your independence. You can see and have a copy of your care plan whenever you like.


How are care plans developed to meet the individual needs of a resident?    


Your care team will sit down with you and work collaboratively with you by asking you a range of questions. The key thing to remember is that an aged care plan is developed closely with each resident, rather than for them. This is an important part of person-centred care


As an aged care resident in Australia you have choice and control over your care, even including having the dignity to take risks. This is built into your consumer rights in the Australian Quality Standards for Aged Care. We all deserve to grow older with great care and the highest possible level of independence, and tailored aged care plans help with this.


How are care plans communicated with my healthcare team? And what happens if my care needs change?     

We maintain records of your preferred GP and other allied health specialists, and if your care needs change we’ll notify your healthcare professionals so they have all the information they need. Whenever your healthcare team sends through any healthcare management changes we also make sure your care plan is updated appropriately.

Learn more about finding great care

For further information on care planning for yourself or a loved one and finding a good aged care home, you might like to visit our guide to aged care

The team at Aurrum Aged Care would also be happy to show you through our vibrant aged care facilities throughout Victoria and New South Wales. Feel free to call the Aurrum team on 1800 287 286 for an obligation-free discussion, or to arrange a time to visit one of our residential aged care homes.