What Is Life Care Planning?

Most people are familiar with the concept of estate planning. It’s a plan for what to do with the assets of a recently deceased person. Well-done estate plans also give instructions for the care of the dying person.

But what if someone’s disability requires ongoing treatment or an elder has declined to a state that makes it difficult to maintain independence? That’s where a life care plan can help. A life care plan is like an estate plan for managing an illness.

After an accident that causes a life-long disability, a lawyer might ask to have a life care plan drawn up to help estimate the costs of future care. However, anyone who is facing a long-term decline due to an illness or disability is qualified for life care planning.

What Is Involved?

A life care plan is built with the help with a lawyer or another certified professional in life care plans. Some nurses specialize in this field.  All the necessary steps of estate planning are there, including the preservation of assets, creation of wills and advance directives, assigning beneficiaries, and so forth. But it goes much further.

Getting The Right Care

The lawyer will work with the family and their loved one to make decisions about what sort of care they need and what kind of quality of life they desire. These needs will be balanced against the available assets to make the right decisions.

Lifecare planners don’t just rely on the family’s money, though. They will search for public and private financial resources to help their client achieve the quality of life they desire. Also, they will advocate on behalf of the client to keep health care costs down.

Decisions in a life care plan might include things you don’t expect, including:

* Renovations to a home to allow a client to live independently

* Decisions on what to do when you need to call a doctor

* Whether a client will need home care or facility care

* What medical equipment might be necessary to maintain independence

And much more.

Advising The Family

While the client is the main focus, life care planners also work closely with the family to educate them about what their loved one is facing from a financial and care standpoint. The planner will explain the decisions, go over the costs, and make recommendations. The goal is to maximize the quality of life of their client based on the best standards of practice, analysis of the situation, and the wishes of the client.

Just like an estate plan explains what to do after death, a life care plan gives families and medical professionals the guidance they need on what to do as a sick person’s health declines. If your loved one is facing a life-long disability or chronic illness, you and they can gain peace of mind by talking with a life care planner.