Life Care Planning

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

The specialized knowledge of life care planners assists courts and juries to better understand the long-term effects of catastrophic injuries and the associated economic damages of such cases. The life care plan is a communication tool, that relates a large volume of complex information in a concise, readable format. Judges, juries, and attorneys rely upon life care plans to explain the effects of an injury or illness, residual functional limitations, future needs, potential complications, and other issues to precisely explain how the life of an individual has been impacted. The life care plan does not simply present the “bottom line” dollar figure associated with the person’s case, but provides detailed insight to the process so that jurors can arrive at the appropriate economic damages award. The life care plan is a tool for communicating the necessary services, time frames for implementation of each recommendation, associated costs, and potential complications of the injury/illness or noncompliance with medical and rehabilitation recommendations.

Types of Cases That May Utilize a Life Care Plan

  1. Workers’ Compensation
  2. Catastrophic
  3. Personal Injury
  4. Medical Malpractice
  5. Product Liability
  6. Motor Vehicle Accidents

Diagnosis Typically Represented in a Life Care Plan

  1. Spinal Cord (SCI)
  2. Acquired Brain Injury
  3. Pediatric Brain Damage
  4. Ventilation Dependent
  5. Burns
  6. Amputations
  7. Back Injury / Chronic Pain
  8. Psychiatric
  9. Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)
  10. Pediatric Cerebral Palsy / Brachial Plexus
  11. Post-traumatic Stress Syndrome
  12. AIDS / HIV
  13. Geriatric
  14. Abuse
  15. Stress Coping
  16. Transplantation
  17. Visual Impairment

Tasks of the Life Care Planner

  1. Review Medical Records & Supporting Documentation
  2. Meet with the individual being evaluated and family, as well as assess home environment or environment the individual is living in.
  3. Collaborate with medical and rehabilitation team
  4. Prepare plan with required medical goods and services with associated costs
  5. Coordinating with a Vocational Expert, if involved
  6. Act as expert witness in court to defend Life Care Plan
  7. Educate jury on disability, needs and limitations