Life can take some unexpected twists and turns that may leave you, someone you love, or a client in a situation that requires a long term health care needs plan. This is referred to as a cost of future care assessment — also called a life care plan or future care cost analysis.
What is a life care plan?
A life care plan can be used in consultation with patients, families, rehabilitation professionals and catastrophic case managers. The life care plan specifies the long-term medical and support services, psychological, rehabilitation and even equipment needs of an individual for the duration of his/her lifetime after they have sustained an injury.
“The life care plan is a dynamic document based upon published standards of practice, comprehensive assessment, data analysis, and research, which provides an organized, concise plan for current and future needs with associated costs for individuals who have experienced catastrophic injury or have chronic health care needs” (International Academy of Life Care Planners, 2003. Established during the 2000 Life Care Planning Summit).
What is the purpose of a life care plan?
A life care plan report is usually created following a home assessment, physical assessment, daily activity assessment, cognitive and emotional assessment, and even employment related assessments. These assessments are needed to outline the current needs and then the therapist provides costs and replacement frequency for the recommendations made. This is then supported with medical documentation when possible, replacement guidelines, nationally recognized statistics as well as using the assessing therapists clinical expertise.
The assessment report and costing pages would usually be used during court proceedings to determine an appropriate settlement amount. Within the judicial and insurance settings it is used to establish an accurate profile of the long term needs, recommendations and associated costs for an individual who has experienced a catastrophic injury or has developed chronic healthcare needs.
Who puts a life care plan together?
A cost of future care report or life care plan is written by a regulated healthcare professional who is also a Canadian Certified Life Care Planner (CCLCP). In most cases, the request for a cost of future care report will be made by a lawyer. The CCLCP reviews the file information and works closely with the law office to ensure that all of the necessary documentation is available to accurately complete the report.
Courts have sought the specialized knowledge of life care planners so that they, and juries, are better able to understand the long-term effects of catastrophic injuries and the associated economic damages of such cases.
What to consider when choosing a life care planner
It is important to understand that when choosing a life care planner two factors may override all others in making a decision.
First, does the life care plan present a document that answers questions rather than raises them? In other words, does it identify current and future issues and make recommendations.
Second, does the life care planner have a reputation for being able to present this information in a form that is understandable to all parties concerned, from the report, through deposition, and into a trial? Most experts will do little good if they are unable to communicate that knowledge to the individuals and juries to whom the information must be directed.
What factors are considered when putting a life care plan together?
The most respected life care planners follow a consistent approach with every case. These steps involve:
- A comprehensive review of records and supporting documentation.
- Clinical interview and history with the patient and whenever possible a family member or significant contact who knew the patient pre-morbidly as well as post-morbidly.
- Interaction with the medical and health-related treatment team to obtain answers to questions not established in the review of the medical records including nurses, physicians, physiotherapists and occupational therapists.
- Research to develop relevant clinical practice guidelines to further establish needs and recommendations as well as support medical and case management foundation.
- Where necessary, establish further data through staffing with consulting specialists.
To most effectively and accurately analyze the needs of patients, life care planners must employ a consistent methodology and approach. Life care planners deliberately organize, evaluate, and interpret patient-specific information. In each of the steps listed above the goal is to link the recommendations to the supportive documentation.
Ultimately, the CCLCP will assess each individual’s life care plan to ensure there is appropriate coverage for future disabilities or challenges that exist as a result of the accident or condition.
Do I need a life care plan?
A life care plan or cost of future care report provides the client, family, treatment team, and legal representatives with a comprehensive outline of the client’s needs over a lifetime and the costs associated with accessing the treatment, services, and equipment they will require. It often is seen as a roadmap for families on what treatments they should be seeking and support services to maximize the injured parties ability to engage in daily activities and still have a good quality of life.
If you are considering requesting a cost of future care report or life care plan for a client, it is important to make sure you are fully informed about the process.
Find a CCLCP in Kamloops
If you’re looking for a Canadian Certified Life Care Planner (CCLCP) in Kamloops, contact the team at Smart Rehab. We would be happy to answer any questions about cost of future care plans, functional capacity evaluations, or other rehabilitation services and look forward to the opportunity to help you.