In assisted living, an individual service plan is a document outlining a resident’s personal goals. Each ISP is based on the individual’s health history, financial circumstances and personal preferences, ensuring that every resident has the right amount of support available at all times. ISPs are developed by interdisciplinary teams composed of doctors, therapists, family members and other people who know the resident and understand their physical, behavioral and emotional needs. For safety reasons, many states require assisted living communities to maintain an ISP for every resident.

Components of an ISP

Although the format of an ISP may vary from one assisted living community to the next, ISPs generally contain the same basic information. One of the most important components is the resident’s physical and behavioral health history, along with the results of any assessments administered by health care providers. Staff members use this information to make sure they meet each resident’s medical and mental health needs.

An ISP should also contain a list of the resident’s personal values and preferences. With this information in hand, assisted living staff can arrange activities and offer services that are well-suited to the resident’s goals, interests and personal strengths. An ISP may also describe the resident’s recent life changes and social relationships, ensuring that staff members can provide emotional and social support to residents struggling with issues such as the death of a loved one or the loss of a long-term friendship.

High-Quality ISPs vs. Low-Quality ISPs

A high-quality ISP reflects the needs, preferences and abilities of an assisted living resident. The ISP should also be respectful to the resident and contain goals that are realistic and measurable. Finally, a high-quality ISP should be based on input from people who know and love the resident, such as adult children, siblings or trusted friends.

In contrast, a low-quality ISP contains generic statements that could apply to almost anyone. If the ISP contains goals, they’re usually vague or unrealistic based on the resident’s current abilities. Even when goals are realistic, they may not be measurable, making it difficult to determine when or if the resident has met each goal. A low-quality ISP doesn’t incorporate any information provided by the resident’s loved ones, meaning it may not be customized according to their current needs, abilities and preferences.