Life Care Plans

Dawn Cook has completed over 600 Life Care Plans for plaintiff and defense attorneys. The American Association of Nurse Life Care Planners (AANLCP) defines a life care plan as outlining an individual’s needs throughout the healthcare continuum, in multiple settings, and throughout life expectancy. A Life Care Plan must be flexible, with provisions for periodic re-evaluations and updates.  Source: American Association of Nurse Life Care Planners Scope and Standards

A life care plan is a plan created by a professional such as a Registered Nurse who has a certification in life care planning, such as a Certified Nurse Life Care Planner (CNLCP) and/or a Certified Life Care Planner (CLCP). The plan will include all future medical care a patient needs and can have medical evaluations and office visits, therapy, diagnostic testing, surgeries and procedures, rehab, equipment and supplies. The life care plan can also include personal care and home/yard maintenance, transportation, home modifications, and anything else anticipated or deemed necessary for that individual. Each life care plan is unique to that patient’s medical needs.

The plan is organized, typically in easy-to-interpret tables that indicate the frequency, duration, replacement intervals, and an estimate of the reasonable costs of each item.

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Who Needs A Life Care Plan?

Life Care Plans are developed for individuals with injuries or chronic conditions requiring complex long-term healthcare intervention and management. The report provides an organized, concise plan that estimates the reasonable and necessary current and future healthcare needs with the associated costs.

Life Care Plan Rebuttal

Dawn Cook offers Life Care Plan Rebuttal Reports. Please visit our Life Care Plan Rebuttal page for more information.

A rebuttal report will include opinions on the items included in the plaintiff's life care plan and whether or not they are reasonable and necessary. Changes may be suggested in the report, alternatives recommended, or items suggested to be removed from the life care plan.

A Life Care Plan Can Be Helpful For:

  • Traumatic and Anoxic Brain Injuries
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Birth Injuries
  • Burns
  • Amputations
  • Neck and Back Pain
  • Chronic Pain
  • Upper and Lower Extremity Injuries
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Dental Injuries
  • Multiple Trauma
  • And more…

Dawn Cook's Presentations on Life Care Planning

  • “Life Care Planning and Past Medical Bill Analysis, a Primer for Legal Nurse Consultants.” American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants, Bay Area Chapter of Northern California, April 12, 2022, virtual meeting, USA.
  • “Spinal Cord Stimulators.” American Association of Nurse Life Care Planners, January 12, 2022, webinar, USA.
  • “Pain Management Procedures and Medical Coding.” American Association of Nurse Life Care Planners, Fall Conference, November 4, 2021. Virtual conference, USA.
  • “Transplantation Costs and Litigation, Valuing the Lifetime Cost of Organ Transplantation.” International Transplantation Nurse Society annual conference, June 26, 2017. Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
  • “Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and Nurse Life Care Planning.” American Association of Nurse Life Care Planners, February 7, 2016. San Antonio, Texas.
  • “How to Select a Life Care Planning Expert Witness.” Las Vegas Valley Paralegal Association, October 15, 2015. Las Vegas, Nevada.
  • “Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and Pain Management.” American Society of Pain Management Nursing. September 19, 2015, Atlanta, Georgia.
  • “Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and Life Care Planning.” Executive Forum for Lifetime Nurse Care Planners, May 3, 2015. Honolulu, Hawaii.
  • “Complex Regional Pain Syndrome for Legal Nurse Consultants.” American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants, April 18, 2015. Indianapolis, Indiana
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FAQ

A Life Care Plan is inclusive of all future medical care a patient will need such as medical evaluations, therapy, rehab, counseling, diagnostic testing, surgeries, transportation, home modifications, durable medical equipment, specialized equipment and supplies, home care and personal care support, future hospitalizations and anything else that may be needed or anticipated to be needed for the individual.  Frequency of visits, replacement intervals and estimation of the reasonable and necessary costs are included in the plan.

The American Association of Nurse Life Care Planners (AANLCP) defines a life care plan as a plan that outlines an individual’s needs throughout the healthcare continuum, in multiple settings, and throughout life expectancy. A Life Care Plan must be flexible, with provisions for periodic re-evaluations and updates.  Source: American Association of Nurse Life Care Planners Scope and Standards

A Life Care Planner generally follows a consistent approach to developing a life care plan, including a review of medical records, expert reports, depositions and other supporting documents, an evaluation of the plaintiff, research and communication with providers and tables of all the future needs with their associated costs.

The medical foundation for the life care plan can be obtained from the treating medical providers or medical experts or research.  A physician or advanced practice nurse is often needed to confirm that future medical services are needed and related to the incident, including medical office visits, surgeries, procedures, medications, testing, and specialized equipment.

For equipment, supplies, furniture, home care and a number of other items, the foundation may be from the physicians, medical experts, nurses, therapists or the life care planner, depending on their scope of practice.

Life care planners include a group of health care professionals: nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, physicians, psychologists, and rehabilitation professionals.  These professionals obtain the necessary training, experience, and education and sit the exam to become a Certified Life Care Planner (CLCP) or Certified Nurse Life Care Planner (CNLCP).

A life care plan is for any patient who will require ongoing medical care due to an injury or chronic illness including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, birth injury, amputations, chronic pain, cerebral palsy, complex regional pain syndrome and more.

A life care plan supplemental is an addendum to the original life care plan after new information, recommendations or changes in the patient’s condition have been received and can include changes, additions or subtractions of items to the life care plan.

In order to create a life care plan, medical records must be available for review to determine what is related to the injury and how the patient has declined or progressed, who the healthcare providers are and what therapy they are or have attended.  Reports written by experts, depositions of the experts, plaintiff, and family and also the ability to interview the patient and their family to determine their current needs.