Components of a Life Care Plan

Life Care Planning

What is Life Care Plan?
Life Care Plan is a holistic interdisciplinary team approach of specialists, which produces a document that projects future costs of medical goods and services, modality support, medications and other necessary services for a catastrophically injured or ill patient. The experts involved may include healthcare workers, doctors, financial professionals, prosthetists, durable medical equipment providers, insurance personnel and other providers.

The Life Care Plan is a dynamic document based upon published standards of practice, comprehensive assessment, data analysis and research compromised of organized and concise planning for current and future needs and associated costs for individuals who have these kinds of catastrophic problems. Each professional providing input to the plan operates within the specific standards of their practice and discipline to ensure that there is direction, accountability and acceptance with community and professional ethics.

Who Needs a Life Care Plan?
Life Care Plans are created for the individual who experienced catastrophic injury or who have chronic healthcare and needs to have an assessment of future costs in general. A partial list includes:

  • Stroke and brain injuries;
  • Amputations;
  • Aneurysms;
  • Anoxic and neurapraxic brain injuries;
  • Concussion;
  • Autism;
  • Birth injuries;
  • Brachial plexus injuries;
  • Burns;
  • Blindness;
  • Deafness;
  • Emphysema;
  • Cerebral palsy;
  • Medical malpractice;
  • Orthopedic injury ;
  • Spinal cord injury;
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy;
  • Personal injury cases;
  • Chemical exposure cases;
  • And many more.

In summary, an individual facing a physical, medical and psychological condition of a chronic nature can benefit from this type of in-depth analysis. Life Care Plans are being used in litigation for Social Security settlement and installment purposes and in general for planning for impaired or aging individuals in terms of financial consideration.

Life Care Purpose and Plan
The Life Care Plan of the client is utilized for the person who is the subject of the Life Care Plan. The purpose is to assist in treatment of the ultimate outcome while developing an appropriate plan of prevention and achieve restoration; taking into account insurance and financial considerations.

The Life Care Plan should develop accurate, timely cost information, specificity and service details that can be utilized by the client and involved parties. This will help determine the actual course of events, projected costs and amounts of money that will need to be set aside to care for this individual.

The Life Care Plan includes research as necessary to do a long-term Life Care Plan because several factors are often involved. The process includes:

  1. A thorough medical record review of all records;
  2. Data analysis to determine the accuracy of previous operations, hospitalizations, diagnoses, treatment and medications ;
  3. Projected costs of projected future utilization in terms of a variety of different services and needs;
  4. Vocational assessment to look at the loss of earning capacity, transferable skills and potential future employability;
  5. Functional Capacity Evaluation to look at physical abilities and projected limitations.

Components of a Life Care Plan (very partial example list)

  1. Outpatient Medical and Surgical
    1. Doctor visits
    2. Osteopathic visits
    3. Chiropractic care
    4. Rehabilitation and physical therapy including physical therapy and outpatient
    5. Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE)
  2. Inpatient Care Hospitalizations
    1. Hospitalizations for psychiatric and psychological problems, psychologists, psychiatrists, speech therapists, social workers and counsellors
    2. Hospitalizations for treatment, surgery, testing, medical and surgical problems
  3. Laboratory Testing
    1. Urine tests
    2. Blood tests
    3. Tissue and pathology testing
    4. Body cavity fluid testing
  4. Ancillary Testing
    1. Pulmonary function tests (PFT)
    2. Electroencephalography (EEG)
    3. EMG/NCV
    4. Electrocardiogram (EKG)
    5. Visual Evoked Stimuli (VES), Auditory Evoked Stimuli (AES)and other brain stem evoked stimuli
  5. Imaging Studies
    1. X-rays
    2. CT scans
    3. MRI scans
    4. Nuclear medicine scans
    5. Ultrasound
    6. Exercise stress nuclear medicine test and other cardiac tests
    7. PET scans
  6. Surgery
    1. Outpatient procedures
    2. Inpatient procedures
  7. Prosthetic and Rehabilitation
    1. Fabricated devices (AFO, artificial limbs, etc.)
    2. Cars and scooters, motorized machines
    3. Wheelchairs
    4. Colostomy care and disposables
    5. Canes and crutches
    6. Beds
    7. Housing makeovers with ramps, elevators, chair lifts, bathroom bars and the like
  8. Miscellaneous Devices
    1. Spinal cord stimulators
    2. Implantable defibrillators
    3. Pain pumps
    4. TENS units
  9. Miscellaneous Procedures
    1. Radiofrequency ablation
    2. Endoscopy
    3. Colonoscopy
    4. Similar procedures
  10. Equipment and Supplies
  11. Attending Care
    1. Home health aides
    2. Home rehabilitation aides and home cooking aides
    3. Home RN and home LPN care
    4. Home shopping aides and home care
  12. Vocational Assessment and Vocational Rehabilitation -specialty skills assessment for a Life Care Plan include the ability to research, critically analyze data, manage and interpret large volumes of information, attend to details, demonstrate clear and thorough written and verbal communication skills, develop networks of information gathering and referrals.
    1. Vocational skills testing
    2. Vocational rehabilitation testing
    3. Retraining costs
    4. Ancillary personnel costs
  13. Psychologists and Psychiatrists
  14. Speech Therapists
  15. Social Workers
  16. Counselors
  17. Financial analysis
    1. UCR guidelines
    2. Medicare tables
    3. Prevailing charges

Life Care Planners should know much about many of the disciplines involved with specialties encompassing certain areas that are their profession. A Life Care Planner must understand the long term requirements and use scientific-based medicine to present data. Knowledge of the administrative aspect of medicine, the charging mechanism involved in medicine, as well as the insurance interrelationship with medical care is essential.