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What Is A Life Care Plan? Breaking Down The Definition, Part 1

By: Stokes & Associates
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In testimony, life care planners are often asked, “what is a life care plan?” According to the International Academy of Life Care Planners, 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 costs for individuals who have experienced catastrophic injury or have chronic health care needs.” Questions often arise regarding the different components of this definition. Life care planners are often asked, “what do you mean by dynamic?”

Dynamic refers to “continuously changing or developing.” Life care plans are considered dynamic or “needs-based,” and individuals’ needs are subject to change. Various circumstances may result in a modification to a life care plan, such as potential complications, new technology, a shift in medication regimen, or the continued need or removal of an item or service. What was once future medical treatment needs becomes past medical treatment when the patient has undergone or received some of the services previously outlined.

A life care planner should consider the risk for potential complications; however, specific complications the individual may experience may not be known on a more probable than not basis. Should an individual experience a complication directly resulting from the injuries identified in the life care plan, the life care plan would need to be amended to include the treatment related to those complications.

Technology is constantly evolving, and more efficient treatment options may become available in the future; however, it is challenging to determine or account for the future advancement of technology. This may necessitate a change in a life care plan over time.

Treatment options, in general, may change for the individual based on their needs at any given time. For example, the treating physician may recommend spinal injections for a certain number of years; however, the physician may determine that additional injections, procedures, or surgery may be needed at the end of that duration. A common change in future treatment involves the individual’s medication regimen. The types of medication may change as well as the dosage and frequencies as time progresses or as new medicines become available.

Respecting that the life care plan is a dynamic document, life care planners routinely reserve the right to amend plans based on updated information from physicians and the individual’s changing needs.

Stokes & Associates specializes in Life Care Planning and Vocational Rehabilitation. Our team has a combined experience of over 20,000 case assignment engagements. As a result, they can quickly map out a plan to provide the right level of service for the task. Additionally, their detailed Request for Service interview is conducted before work begins to ensure roles and expectations are determined from the onset of their involvement.

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