Comprehensive life care planning is a relatively new interdisciplinary practice that focuses on improving quality of life especially for people with long-term healthcare, rehabilitation, and medication needs. Given such a description, life care planning is necessary if you or a loved one suffer from multiple sclerosis, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, mental health disorders, or developmental disabilities. Below is some vital information about comprehensive life care planning for beginners.
A Detailed Look at Comprehensive Life Care Planning
In simple words, this interdisciplinary practice addresses the major medical, rehabilitation, and psychological needs of individuals with chronic healthcare needs. According to the International Academy of Life Care Planners, life care planning was traditionally a preserve of the elderly with chronic illnesses. However, this is no longer the case as it is applicable in many cases involving the young as well. The rule of thumb when preparing this type of care plan is to consult and involve patients, their families, medical experts, rehabilitation professionals, and experts in long-term catastrophic case management. By soliciting input from different quarters, one improves the likelihood of creating an accurate blueprint that addresses the long-term needs of a patient. Moreover, life care planning involves deliberate and methodical evaluation of a patient’s medical records, review of medical research efforts that could improve health outcome of a patient in future, and utilization of domain-specific clinical care guidelines. For this reason, a professional who offers life care planning must undergo training and earn licensure from reputable organizations like the Commission on Health Care Certification
Life Care Planning Ethical Standards
Professionals in this field must never disclose patient data and records to unauthorized people or parties. In addition, they should abide by regulations that govern patient data privacy at the state and national level. A good example is HIPAA regulations. At this point, it is worth noting that life care planners are not necessarily subject to traditional patient-physician confidentiality codes of conduct. However, many life care planners tend to have medical backgrounds (psychologists, licensed counselors, or psychiatrists) meaning that all communications with patients are protected by statutes/laws governing doctor-patient confidentiality privileges.
The recommendations that a life care planner makes determine the health outcomes of his/her patients over time. As such, one must be highly skilled and well versed in chronic case management. Moreover, one must have a good grasp of accepted chronic care planning best practices as well as keep abreast of industry developments by reading content published in reputable medical journals. It is also wise to undertake relevant continuous education courses to maintain high competency standards.
Elements of a Life Care Plan
Although it is impossible to anticipate all future events and needs, it is possible to create a plan that covers about 90% of conceivable scenarios. With this in mind, a comprehensive life care plan should include the following elements:
- Review of medical records.
- Assessment of medication needs.
- Assessment of medical care needs.
- Assessment of therapeutic care needs.
- Assessment of diagnostic testing needs.
- Assessment of patient’s ability to live independently.
- Assessment of home healthcare needs.
- Assessment of assistive technology needs. For instance, necessity of using a mobile device to control wheelchair movement
- Assessment of orthotic and prosthetic devices needs.
- Assessment of bowel and bladder movement ability. For example, assess ability of patient to use toilet without help.
- Assessment of mobility needs. Find out whether patient requires bathtub lift, stair lift, or wheelchair ramps
- Assessment of adaptive equipment needs
- Assessment of specialized home appliance, utensil, or furnishing needs. For example, evaluate the need for a specialty bed
- Assessment of home architectural changes (remodeling, renovations, or rebuilding)
- Assessment of legal and financial aid needs
These elements show that the input of independent experts such as building contractors may be necessary to predict the cost of patient care over time accurately.
Comprehensive life care planning is a practice that straddles multiple disciplines with the aim of offering better quality of life to patients who require long-term medical attention and care. Professionals who offer this service must create plans that cover medical, therapeutic, mobility, adaptive equipment, and assistive technology needs of patients.
For additional information on this topic visit:
Note that the author of this article is not an attorney. Consult a qualified attorney before making any decision that could affect the financial and tax status of you and your family.