Life Care Planning in Traumatic Brain Injury

What is a life care plan? Who uses it? A life care plan is a dynamic document that outlines medical, therapy, environmental, transportation, equipment and supplies, pharmaceutical, and other needs for a person with a catastrophic or chronic health condition, with all associated costs. It is transparent, meaning that the planner clearly identifies sources of data and costs included, such as from personal contact with treating team members, the patient and family, medical records, and current and proposed vendors. The credible life care planner also clearly describes the methodology used; the planner makes only recommendations for individual plan components within the scope of practice of the planner’s original licensure. Most, though not all, life care planners work for attorneys involved in litigation; I work for both plaintiff and defense clients to avoid appearance of bias. This article is intended to give a brief overview of some of the many factors I consider in life care planning for an individual with brain injury to clarify future needs and expenses. How does a nurse life care planner work? As a certified nurse life care planner (CNLCP), I use my extensive experience as a registered nurse in rehabilitation nursing and case management to guide my assessment of a brain-injured patient. Registered nurse licensure empowers CNLCPs to assess and prescribe for human responses to injury and illness, which privilege we take seriously and is not shared by life care planners with vocational, therapy, or counseling backgrounds. Writing collaborative plans of care with the patient’s best interest foremost is in nursing’s DNA. I develop plans of care for life expectancy based on my personal assessment. I...