Being a carer is an incredibly rewarding job, but we all know it’s not without its challenges. Let’s be honest, life throws curveballs. That’s why it’s important to have a backup plan or a “contingency plan” in place, as those in health and social care like to say. This plan is there to make sure the person you care for has continued support if you find yourself unexpectedly unable to be there.
What is a care contingency plan?
Put simply, a contingency plan is just a fancy way of saying “plan for the unexpected”.
As a carer, a contingency plan will outline some basic information so that others can step in to help and provide the necessary care should you suddenly be unable to. It might be due to an illness, a family emergency, or even just needing a short break. Having this written down ensures your loved one will be properly supported.
What does a care contingency plan include?
Let’s get to the practical bits. Here are some essential things to include in your contingency plan:
- Your contact details & those of the person you care for: Names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses for you both.
- Emergency contacts: Family, friends, neighbors, someone reliable who can be called upon quickly. Don’t forget to ask their permission first
- Medical information: Details of ongoing conditions, medications (a clear list with dosages), allergies, and doctor contact info
- Care routine: What are the daily tasks they need support with? This could include getting dressed, bathing, eating, taking meds, etc. Make a simple timetable to show these
- Likes and dislikes: A few important preferences – their favorite food, TV shows, hobbies – can make transitions much smoother in the short term
Extra things to consider:
- House key access: Where is a spare key or who has one safely, for when emergency support may need to enter the home?
- Pets: If the person you care for has a pet, include basic care instructions like feeding and walking times
- Professional supports: List any external agencies, respite services, or care workers already arranged with their full contact info
Creating your care contingency plan
There are resources available online to help make this easy. Carers UK even has an interactive tool called MyBackUp on the CarersUK website. You can also download templates or just draft your own plan using Word or even write some handwritten notes.
A plan only works if people know it exists
Here’s what to do:
- Give copies of the plan to those emergency contacts (friends, family, etc.)
- Let your doctor, care worker, or social worker know you have one
- Keep a hard copy somewhere visible and easy to find. The refrigerator’s a common place
While thinking about “what if” scenarios isn’t fun, please remember contingency planning is an act of love and responsibility. It brings peace of mind to you and most importantly, it ensures your loved one is always cared for. If you have more questions about preparing plans, contact Carers Central to see how we can help you.