Previously known as Future Costs of Care
Life Care Planning mandates a rigorous and systematic methodology toward the creation of an evidence-based and defensible report detailing a client’s specific needs. Life Care Planning has replaced the previously undeveloped notion of Future Costs of Care. The Canadian judicial system relies on the expert testimony of Certified Life Care Planners to determine injured individuals’ future care needs.
The commonly accepted definition of a Life Care Plan is as follows:
A 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 cost for individuals who have experienced a catastrophic injury or have chronic health care needs.
As per the International Academy of Life Care Planners, the goals of a Life Care Plan include:
- To assist the individual evaluee in achieving optimal outcomes by developing an appropriate plan of rehabilitation, prevention, and/or reduction of complications. This may include recommendations for evaluations or treatment that may contribute to the evaluee’s level of wellness or provide information regarding treatment requirements.
- To provide health education to the individual and relevant parties, when appropriate.
- To specify services and the charges for those services needed by the individual.
- To develop likely alternatives for care that take into consideration developmentally appropriate and least restrictive options for the individual.
- To communicate the Life Care Plan and objectives to the individual and relevant parties when appropriate.
A Life Care Plan is created by a board-certified Life Care Planner using a methodical and rigorous process based upon published standards of practice. Most commonly, this iterative process includes:
- Review of medical and professional documentation
- In-person interview and functional testing of the client in his or her home
- Collateral interview, if possible, with a significant other (e.g., spouse, family member, friend)
- Seeking relevant, scope-specific opinions from other medical and rehabilitation professionals involved in the treatment and/or assessment of the client
- Analysis of needs via triangulation of data
- Research (e.g., of appropriate care options and related costs)
- Clear and defensible report providing evidence-based foundation for the extraordinary needs quantified and costed over the anticipated length of disability
Typical categories of needs include:
- Health care services (e.g., medicine, therapies, counselling, vocational support)
- Attendant/personal care needs
- Assistive devices/equipment/technology
- Medications and supplies
- Additional transportation costs
- Housekeeping and home maintenance
- Home renovations and/or vehicle modifications
- Health and residual function maintenance
- Extraordinary support required to allow participation in community, leisure, family life