A nursing care plan provides direction on the type of nursing care the individual/family/community may need. The main focus of a nursing care plan is to facilitate standardised, evidence-based and holistic care. Nursing care plans have been used for quite a number of years for human purposes and are now also getting used in the veterinary profession. A care plan includes the following components: assessment, diagnosis, expected outcomes, interventions, rationale and evaluation.
According to UK nurse Helen Ballantyne, care plans are a critical aspect of nursing and they are meant to allow standardised, evidence-based holistic care. It is important to draw attention to the difference between care plan and care planning. Care planning is related to identifying problems and coming up with solutions to reduce or remove the problems. The care plan is essentially the documentation of this process. It includes within it a set of actions the nurse will apply to resolve/support nursing diagnoses identified by nursing assessment. Care plans make it possible for interventions to be recorded and their effectiveness assessed. Nursing care plans provide continuity of care, safety, quality care and compliance. A nursing care plan promotes documentation and is used for reimbursement purposes such as Medicare and Medicaid.
The therapeutic nursing plan is a tool and a legal document that contains priority problems or needs specific to the patient and the nursing directives linked to the problems. It shows the evolution of the clinical profile of a patient. The TNP is the nurse’s responsibility. She’s the only one who can inscribe information and re-evaluate the TNP during the course of treatment of the patient. This document is used by nurses, nursing assistant and they communicate the directives to the beneficiary attendants. The priority problems or needs are often the diagnoses of the patient and nursing problem such as wounds, dehydration, altered state of consciousness, risk of complication and much more. These diagnoses are around problems or needs that are detected by nurses and need specific interventions and evaluation follow-up. The nursing directives can be addressed to nurses, nursing assistants or beneficiary attendants. Each priority problem or need must be followed by a nursing directive or an intervention. The interventions must be specific to the patient. For example, 2 patients with the problem ‘uncooperative care’ can need different directives. For one patient the directive could be: ‘educate about the pathology and the effects of the drugs on the health situation’; for the other, it could be the’use a directive approach.’ It depends on the nature of the problem which needs to be evaluated by a nurse.