One of the foremost challenges faced by health care professionals is to formulate a well-devised, well-thought out plan for assisting both the patients as well as the health care givers. Care planning is an essential part of health care, but is often misunderstood or regarded as a waste of time. Without a specific document delineating the plan of care, important issues are likely to be neglected. Care planning provides a sort of 'road map', to guide all who are involved with the patient's / resident's care. The health care plan has long been associated with nursing; However, all health care professionals need to be assisted in the care giving process. In today's world, highly expensive Health Insurance policies are not viable for most individuals. Therefore, the government needs to play a crucial part in ensuring that 'health care' is impartially and effectively provided to all citizens.
At the beginning of the 20th century, a new concept, the concept of 'health promotion' began to take shape. It was realized that public health had neglected the citizen as an individual and that the state had a direct responsibility for the health of the individual. Consequently, in addition to.disease control activities, one more goal was added to health-care planning- health promotion of individuals. It was initiated as personal health services such as mother and child health services, mental health and rehabilitation services. CEAWinslow, one of the leading figures in the history of public health in 1920, defined public health care planning as: 'the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health and efficiency through organized community effort.'
The first step in the health care planning program is accurate and comprehensive assessment. Once the initial assessment is completed, a problem list should be generated. This may be as simple as a list of medical diagnosis. The problem list may include family / relationship problems, which are affecting the parent's overall well-being.
Following the problem list, the health-care professional must ask, 'Will I be able to solve this problem? If yes, then the goal of the health-care professional must be to solve that particular problem. Moreover, this goal should be specific, measurable and attainable. The approach towards achieving that goal should also be measurable and realistic. An example of a problem that could improve, would be health-care deficit related to hip fracture. With rehab, this problem is likely to resolve.
In case a medical problem is irreversible-such as diabetes- the next step would be to eliminate further complications or possible health deterioration. In the case of such health problems, the goal should be to retain the level of health at an optimum level.
In case of an illness, where further health complications are inevitable, the goal should be to improve the quality of life. It is note-worthy that for all medical problems, approaches must be ordered by the physician. The health care planning process is never completed until the patient is discharged from the current care setting. Periodic schedule re-evaluation is also necessary once the patient is discharged.
In the final analysis, the ultimate purpose of the health care plan is to guide all who are involved in the care of the patient and to provide appropriate treatment.