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Q: We always invite family members to our care plan meetings. When families attend, it seems to turn into a complaint session that lasts longer than the allotted time. How can we keep our meetings on schedule and actually review the care plans?

Julia's PPS Chat, November 24, 2004

Welcome once again to our PPS chat!

How many of you have experienced the following situation? It's care plan day, you're right on track with your care plan meetings, and a family comes in with a lengthy list of concerns and complaints. This meeting lasts for more than an hour, and the family wants even more time to discuss their concerns. Meanwhile, other residents' families are waiting for their care plan meetings.

What should you do? Read on to find the answer-

Q: We always invite family members to our care plan meetings. When families attend, it seems to turn into a complaint session that lasts longer than the allotted time. How can we keep our meetings on schedule and actually review the care plans?

A: In your letter of invitation to the family members, be sure to explain the purpose of the meeting. Explain that this meeting is to review the resident's plan of care and to identify progress or lack of progress toward preestablished goals. You could also provide a telephone number so that families can contact department heads not present at the meeting if they wish to discuss any concerns unrelated to the care plan.

At the meeting, if the topics get off track, remind the family of the purpose of the meeting. If the family voices specific complaints during the meeting unrelated to the care plan, offer to have the family meet with the appropriate department head at a convenient time for both to discuss the issue.

In regard to maintaining the care plan time schedule, some facilities have success using a timer set to the amount of time allotted for the meeting. You will need to use your judgment regarding the continuation of the meeting past the allowed time.

If the care plan review is not complete when the allotted time has passed, then by all means continue the meeting. If you feel your meeting is concluded but the family wishes to continue, offer to reschedule a time when the family can return to continue the conversation.

In summary, let your families know the purpose and time allotted for the meeting and attempt to stick to your schedule, but offer another time slot to families wishing to further discuss issues.

Additionally, make sure your families understand the purpose for the meeting before they even come. Set guidelines at the beginning, but do offer to set up another time to discuss any further concerns. That should help to keep you on schedule.

We'll be chatting again soon-