What is it?
A package of care is essentially an arrangement for the health and social care of people who have been incapacitated by frailty or illness. It can be privately or publicly (NHS)-funded.
An 80-year-old woman, with cognitive impairment, who has been having recurrent falls and having problems with caring for herself, with no family support will usually need some form of social care support for their daily health and social care needs after medical treatment in the hospital.
The spectrum of Independence:
In the spectrum of activities of daily living abilities, we can go from living on their own and fending for their everyday needs to having to live in a nursing home, where they have constant nursing care
POC falls within the spectrum- it is necessary for people who are unable to completely live independently and are not so dependent to need continuous nursing home care.
The commonest POC you will see are in the form of drug dosages e. g.1x per day to 4x per day. This just means the number of times a social care worker visits them to assist with activities of daily living like administering their medications, self-care, cooking, shopping or just keeping them company.
PS: It is quite impressive to note that a lot of people in their late 80s and 90s are actually very independent
Before people are placed on the NHS package of care (NHS Continuing Healthcare), an assessment is usually made by a team of professionals that they are eligible for it before the NHS funds it. The process of this assessment delays a number of discharges in the hospital. So, it is common to see patients who are not discharged as they await a package of care. That is, they are unable to manage alone at home alone and need this care package before discharge and without this sorted, they are not socially fit for discharge despite being medically fit for/optimised discharge.(MFFD/MOFD).
Apply your knowledge:
So, when next you see a clerking that says the patient has POC x 4, they get a social care visit four times per day. It is safe to assume the lower the number of calls they get, the more independent/functional they are. Or, they may just have very supportive family members who help out with care.