Q&A on Life Care Plans

I know that many –perhaps most– of the people reading this think they know what a nurse life care planner is and does already. And they might. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my work, it’s that you can always learn something new. Maybe this is your chance! Here are some questions I get asked by attorneys, trust officers, and others. Q. What’s a life care plan? What’s in it? A. My life care plans are tools to estimate medical and nonmedical needs of a person with a catastrophic injury or chronic illness over his lifetime. They’re dynamic, meant to be flexible as time passes. It’s based on my full assessment, published standards of practice, data analysis, and research. A given LCP could include medical needs and costs, such as physician and nursing care, medicines, and therapies, and less-obvious things like goods and services to help with safe aging in place, architectural modifications, change in level of care, equipment/maintenance/replacement, transportation, furnishings– anything in someone’s life that will incur costs related to the injury or illness. Many LCP cases deal with people in workers comp or liability claims. I see catastrophic conditions like traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, major trauma, major burns, chronic pain, major psychiatric diagnoses, or a combination of conditions. I also see children with birth injury or developmental condition like cerebral palsy or mental disability, or elders whose care needs fall to a family member, guardian, or a trust fund and may not involve litigation. Q. Isn’t Obamacare going to take care of all this anyway? A. The Affordable Care Act mandates insurance coverage for doctor visits, medicines, or hospitals for a great many people...