Children with birth injuries may have a number of disabilities that will last over the course of a lifetime. Life care plans help parents plan for the care and costs of supporting a child with a birth injury.
Sometimes a child has a disorder such as cerebral palsy that includes cognitive disabilities on top of physical disabilities. Such disabilities require a number of special accommodations like lifelong physical and speech therapy, and in education. Because the cerebral palsy life expectancy varies between individuals, a life care plan will be very individualized.
Other children have birth injuries that may just affect one area, such as only a physical disability or only a mental impairment. Regardless of the type and severity of the disabilities, a Life care plan can help account and plan for the financial costs associated with medical, educational and other expenses over the course of the child’s lifetime.
What are Life Care Plans?
Life care plans are legal documents created by a number of different medical experts and specialists. Together, the group decides on what sort of care the child will need over the course of a lifetime in order to be as healthy and comfortable as possible. The group assembles estimated costs for a number of these needs, such as medical, educational and rehabilitation expenses. Then, the group attempts to predict the rate of inflation so that the family doesn’t experience financial hardships while raising a special needs child.
Life care plans are common additions to birth injury cases. They can help ensure that all costs associated with a birth injury are accounted for. This helps ensure that the party responsible pays for the long-term damages associated with the infant’s injuries.
The life care plan isn’t only a monetary number that defines the cost that this medical professional put onto the family. The primary goal of a life care plan is to ensure that the child is taken care of for his or her lifetime.
What is Included in a Life Care Plan?
A life care plan strives to plan costs associated with long-term care for the infant, including expenses arising as the child ages into adulthood. Generally, a life care plan will include:
- A list of the physicians and medical team responsible for the medical care of the infant
- Educational expenses
- Adaptive equipment and toys needed
- Modifications needed for the home (such as ramps, handrails, etc.)
- List of medical procedures anticipated
- Occupational, physical and speech therapies (or any applicable therapy)
- In-home care expenses
- Transportation costs
A life care plan may also include additional costs to parents, such as:
- Respite care
- Lost wages
- Special modifications
Do Life Care Plans Only Include Costs?
In addition to past, current, and estimated future costs, life care plans may also include goals for the child. For example, developmental goals may include special education and/or rehabilitative therapy milestones. If the child has a physical disability, the goal could be a physical or occupational therapy milestone at different timed intervals. If the child has a cognitive disability, the goal may be to work on basic memory-recall of general developmental information, such as names, addresses, shapes or colors.