In this episode of Brain Injury Insider, host Michael Kaplen discusses life care plans, and why it is so important for brain injury attorneys to have one prepared for their clients by a properly qualified life care planner.
What is a life care plan, and why is it important for a brain injury lawyer to have one prepared for their clients?
A life care plan is prepared by an individual known as a life care planner, who is experienced in the long term consequences of a traumatic brain injury.
It is used to support the attorneys contentions of the long term economic consequences that follow a traumatic brain injury.
A life care plan will project future medication needs and costs, future visits to physicians and the cost of those visits, future rehabilitation services and the costs for those services. It will look at and project future social service needs and costs. It will project future household needs and costs, and the cost to replace a family member, a spouse, or a parent with a skilled provider to provide these services as needed.
It will also include future support services for a person with a brain injury. What is needed? How often it is needed? Who will provide these services? How will the individual be transported in order to obtain these services? These are all questions that a life care planner will ask and incorporate into this very important document.
Similarly, the question needs to be asked "what is the effect on the individual if they don't receive these services?" A brain injury is not a static condition. There are lifelong consequences to a traumatic brain injury that change over time. The life care planner must look into the future, and examine what happens to this individual as they age, and as their needs increase for services.
The life care planner must not only consider current costs, but future costs for medical care and services. Inflation, how prices rise over time, the costs of replacing devices. The costs of having substitute care givers available as the need may arise.
The plan must be specific to the individual. The life care planner must look at the neuropsychological evaluation of the individual, the neurological evaluation of the individual, and determine their current limitations, their current disabilities, their current needs. What kind of care will be required to meet those specific needs of the individual? What kind of replacement services are needed for that individual? What is the cost for these replacement services?
These costs and these projections must be localized to the individual community in which the brain injury survivor lives. To be comprehensive, all medical records must be given to the life care planner. And the life care planner must be given the opportunity to sit down with the brain injury survivor and their family, in order to fully understand that individual's needs, wants, and desires.
A brain injury survivor is entitled to more than just the cost of survival. As Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz so aptly put it "there's no place like home". But when living at home there are all kinds of ancillary costs that must be considered.
A brain injury survivor is entitled to the best possible life that can be achieved in their home, and in their community. They do not need to be isolated in a rehab facility, or a nursing home for the rest of their life. They are a person with a brain injury, not a brain injured person.
A properly qualified life care planner, with a proper plan, is necessary for a brain injury attorney, in order to achieve full and fair compensation for their clients.