PUBLICATIONS - LIFE CARE PLANNING
The Multidimensionality of Life Care Planning
Understanding the concept that a life care plan is viewed
as being multidimensional is critical for those taking on
the task of plan development for the first time. Many rehabilitation
professionals and case managers will undertake the life care
plan as if they were constructing a building. First, they
lay the foundation and then they construct each floor, one
on top of the other. Or they may attempt to complete one
page of the life care plan before moving on to the next page.
This sounds logical, but it is fundamentally wrong and will
inevitably lead to disaster on multiple levels. Every item
or recommendation in a life care plan has the potential to
influence every other recommendation in the plan. Any subsequent
change in a recommendation, or any addition, has the potential
to produce a "domino effect" in terms of its impact
on the plan.
In this section, we will explore many of these pitfalls
and discuss the concept of multidimensionality. The guiding
principles may seem complex at first, but a simple exercise
should help them become clear.
Principles of Multidimensionality in Life Care Planning
1.Each recommendation (driven by a specific
deficit of dysfunction), will impact the life care plan pages
both directly and indirectly.
For example, tube feeding may directly impact nursing services
and therapies, but will also indirectly impact architectural
renovations due to storage requirements.
2. Directly impacted items frequently crossover to influence
other directly impacted items.
For example, both tube feeding and breakthrough seizure
disorder management impact the level of nursing care required.
3. Directly impacted items may be affected by indirect
For example, when a camp for children with special needs
is recommended on the leisure page with no concomitant adjustment
to the home care page, the result is an overlap in total
care provided in the plan.
4. Directly impacted items may limit access to indirect
items or pages forcing alternate recommendations.
For example, tube feeding cannot be accommodated at a local
school program, which necessitates a homebound educational
program. Many schools do not provide homebound educationally
necessary therapy programs. This information would result
in a change on your therapy page in relation to frequency
5. Directly impacted items may force recommendation changes
by limiting time availability as well as access to an otherwise
needed service. This situation often forces compromises.
Such compromises are often the staple of an effective, credible,
and efficient life care plan.
6. No one can complete a life care plan in a two-dimensional
format. It is always multidimensional in its interaction
The moment a referral source contacts the life care planner,
research begins. During intake, the file is opened, where
at minimum, the basics of sex, age, disability, current location,
and a general narrative will be recorded. The journey from
referral to presentation of a life care plan can stall the
practitioner in a potentially overwhelming congested roadway
of facts, figures, and statistics. Without resources that
are patient-specific, promptly accessible, easily understood,
quickly verified, and regularly updated, the task of completing
a competent, thorough, and accurate life care plan is nearly
Effective life care planners must cultivate a dynamic knowledge
base in the ever-evolving and expansive field of rehabilitation.
Each life care plan developed is a unique, patient-specific
document. Because of the individualistic and comprehensive
nature of a life care plan, it is essential for planners
to develop an organized system in which to:
- Identify and define patient-specific information
- Cultivate effective resources to locate information
- Organize, store, and retrieve valuable information
Identifying and Defining Patient-Specific Information
When the client is referred
and the file is opened, the life care planner will request
a complete set of medical and health-related professionals'
records. It is important that these records include a detailed
medical billing history.
Begin combing methodically through the recorded history
outlining the patient's experience. From this information,
the life care planner will generate a germane medical summary.
and summarized the client's medical records, it is now time
to collect data from a clinical interview and history with
the patient and family. To ensure that the client and caretakers
come to the evaluation prepared, develop an initial contact
packet to be mailed weeks in advance of the scheduled interview.
Ask the patient to prepare and organize an inclusive list
of all present medical treatments, supplies, services, and
providers. The list should include all contact information
the research will require.
Throughout the interview process, keep a vigilant watch
for information needed to research the patient-specific plan.
The more quality information is cultivated and recorded in
the interview, the less footwork will be required later.
Narrowing the Scope
Once the medical summary is complete and the patient interview
and history has been taken, the life care planner can look
at the specific profile of the patient and begin to narrow
the research scope.
- Patient needs based on the disability:
- Medical services
- Residential needs
- Miscellaneous services
- Supplies /equipment
- Allied health services
By defining patient needs, you are simultaneously identifying
those areas for inclusion in the life care plan.
Research Road Map
Having judiciously developed a complex understanding of
the patient's specific needs and abilities, the life care
planner can now construct the research roadmap that will
lead to the information needed to complete the plan.
Here is an example of one such roadmap: the area cost analysis
In using this or a similar form, the planner can begin
to mentally construct the plan. By checking off those items
requiring cost research, the planner is also identifying
various recommendations contained within the plan and flagging
the present treating professionals who will need to be contacted
Area Cost Analysis
Patient name: DOB: ____ Sex: M F
Disability: Plaintiff: Defense:
City: Area code:____
Nearest metro area:
Allied health professionals:
HHA: per hour ____, per visit ____
LPN: per hour ____, per visit ____
RN: per hour ____, per visit ____
__Live-in (available/definition/last time staffed this
__Request state regulations
Invasive procedures required? (Yes/No) Such as:
Facility-based outpatient therapy:
__Work hardening program
__Disabled Driver: __Eval __ Training
__Augmentative communication: __Eval __ Training
__Assistive technology: __Eval __ Training
__College: AA BA
__Adult day training
Wage data research required (if providing
a loss of earnings report):
Facility care level required:
__Level of disability
__Activities of daily living (ADLs): cues (Yes/No)
Type of program/facility:
__Adult day care
__Day program __ABI __MR
__Assisted living facility (__ request state regulations)
__ICF/MR or group home
__Long-term head injury
__Skilled nursing facility
__Transitional living __SCI __ABI
__Chronic pain: __inpatient __outpatient
__SCI rehab: __inpatient __outpatient
__SCI eval: __inpatient __outpatient
__Evoked potential audio
__Evoked potential visual
__Comp metabolic panel
__C & S
__Chemical levels for medication:
Surgeries and procedures:
__Fertility program: M F
__Spinal Fusion (cervical/thoracic/lumbar)
__Scar revision: Length of Scar:
__Augmentative communication devices
The above illustrates a sample form that can be used as
a roadmap for life care plan research. With the Area Cost
Analysis as your roadmap, it is time to drive the research