Care plans form the backbone of the plan of care for any service user be they living in a care home setting or at home. Done properly, a care plan can create a very useful template for care, done badly they:

  • Can mislead care staff
  • Fail to identify care issues
  • Mean some aspects of a person’s care are overlooked
  • Waste time and resources
  • Will create problems with regulators


There is no mystery to care planning, in fact in many ways the simpler the approach to undertaking it the better. 

In this blog, we will identify 10 of the biggest blunders care staff make when care planning.

  1. Failing to consult the service user – it is their care pan after all. How can it be person-centred if they aren’t the main person involved in creating it?
  2. Writing about the “service user” and not the person. It’s always better to understand what Reg needs or wants than “the service user”.  Using their name suggests some consultation has occurred and the care plan is person-centred
  3. Failing to use a care plan template can lead to issues which need care planning being missed. Care plan templates, such as that in the care and support element of CAREis, enable users to be holistic in their planning.
  4. Not using all of the template because something are difficult or embarrassing to talk about. This can lead to unnecessary stress, missed care and neglect!
  5. Being too brief describing interventions. What does “help Joan clean her teeth” actually mean? How would an agency carer know how to help Joan?
  6. Being to complex or too wordy. Interventions especially need to hep the person reading them to provide care as if you, the person writing the care plan, were the one doing it.  It’s called continuity of care.  If it is too wordy, the meaning may get lost or other carers may just not bother reading it.
  7. Failing to consult other staff. Often senior care staff or nurses write care plans which more junior team members deliver and guess what… it is often those who deliver the care who know what is actually going on.
  8. Failing to consult family and friends can mean some care plans, especially for service users living with diminished capacity don’t cover all they should and therefore miss the context of the persons life.
  9. They focus on the person’s inabilities and fail to identify and work to their strengths and abilities. Such care plans are themselves disabling rather than enabling, they fail to identify ways to maximise the individual’s abilities to self-care or be involved in their own care in favour of quick and easy carer led care.
  10. Not consulting, not using a template and being carer centred means many care plans fail to use evidence to inform their interventions – they are not evidence-based.

In later blogs we will consider some aspects of good practice in the writing of care plans, but for now it is worth remembering one simple fact, the care plan is about and belongs to the service user and the way information is collected for them and the how they are written needs to reflect this.