The Life Care Plan

A Life Care Plan (also known as a Cost of Future Care Report or Future Care Cost Assessment) identifies medical and rehabilitation needs, and associated costs for those who have experienced significant injury or have chronic health care needs. The Life Care Plan is meant as a living document and is based upon published standards of practice, assessments, data analysis and research.

The Life Care Plan Professional

The extent and complexity of medical complications related to serious cases requires Life Care Planners to have proficiency and specialized knowledge in care management solutions for a broad range of injuries and illnesses. Those who develop these plans are a multidisciplinary group of rehabilitation professionals that may include rehabilitation counsellors, occupational therapists, physical therapists, social workers, physicians and psychologists. The methodology of life care planning has provided professionals with a consistent process for analyzing the immediate and lifelong needs of patients necessitated by the onset of a disability. 

Life Care Plan Methodology

Generally plans are requested by legal professionals, insurance specialists, case managers or rehabilitation professionals. Regardless of the referral source however, the methodology that forms the Plan’s recommendations is fairly systematic in nature. Planners rely on medical and rehabilitation records, comprehensive medical evaluations, clinical practice guidelines, research related to an individual’s level of function and disability (pre- and post-incident or onset of illness) as well as information from an individual’s medical and/or allied health team.

Life care planning represents the integration of three distinct fields of practice: experimental analysis of behavior, developmental psychology and case management. (“An Introduction to Life Care Planning.” Deutsch, Allison, Reid.)

The original definition of life care planning is as follows: A consistent methodology for analyzing all of the needs dictated by the onset of a catastrophic disability through to the end of life expectancy. Consistency means that the methods of analysis remain the same from case to case and does not mean that the same services are provided to like disabilities. (Deutsch and Raffa, 1981; Deutsch and Sawyer, 2002).

Even with standard methodologies in Plan development, individual plans may vary even in cases with similar disorders or disablement. This is because each Plan takes into account the unique variables associated with each case. A good Plan will typically focus on: ‘anticipated future evaluations, treatment therapies, diagnostic testing, medical and adaptive equipment, aids for independent functioning, prescription and nonprescription medications, home care or facility care, routine medical care, transportation needs, architectural modifications, potential complications, surgical intervention, and vocational services.” (International Association of Rehabilitation Professionals).