17. Use Care Plans

Do you use written care plans? These may be in the form of a letter but it must contain a formulation, intervention details and measurable outcomes that are being worked towards.

Is the care plan written in plain English, avoiding jargon?

Is it possible to tell from the care plan what will have to change in order that the family can leave the service?

Does the care plan detail what the family will do?

Does the care plan detail what other agencies will do?

Do your care plans contain a date for review?

Do you care plans include baseline and regular review outcome measures?

Do you have a system for collating outcome measures so that each clinician knows how their cases go?

Can you easily find the care plan in the file?

Is it copied to the family and network (with consent)?

Make it more than just a summary; make it a tool


A care plan is a description of the main issues, treatment plan, goals and which professionals and agencies will be involved. Clear care planning and goals for treatment that are realistic, specific and measurable make it clear when to end contact as well as giving a focus for the work. Use of outcome measures such as those recommended by the CAMHS Outcomes Research Consortium (CORC) can help both you and the family review how things are going. CORC suggests using a combination of CGAS, SDQ and the CHI satisfaction Questionnaire (see end of this section on Let Go of Families for details). Added Bonus: using outcome measures will help you monitor the effectiveness of what you do and share this with others.

Ideas for Action