Children with birth injuries may have a number of disabilities that will last over the course of a lifetime. Sometimes a child has a disorder such as cerebral palsy that includes cognitive disabilities on top of physical disabilities, requiring a number of special accommodations both in lifelong physical and speech therapy, and in education. Other children have birth injuries that may just affect one area, such as only a physical disability or a mental impairment. Regardless of the type and severity of the disabilities, a Life Care Plan can help provide the financial costs associated with medical, educational, and other expenses over the course of the child’s lifetime.
What is a Life Care Plan?
A Life Care Plan is a legal document drafted up by a number of different medical experts and specialists. The group together decides on what 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, and then attempts to predict the rate of inflation so that the family doesn’t experience financial hardships while raising a special needs child. The document is often used should a birth injury trial take place, to ensure that the party responsible pays for the long-term damages associated with the infant’s injuries.
The Life Care Plan isn’t only an exact monetary number that defines the cost that this medical professional put onto the family, but a Life Care Plan’s primary responsibility 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 the permanent care for the infant, including adulthood expenses. Generally, a life care plan will provide:
- 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, speech, and speech therapies (or any applicable therapy)
- In-home care expenses
- Transportation costs
Additional costs to parents may also be included in a life care plan, including:
- Respite care
- Lost wages
- Special modifications
Does a Life Care Plan Only Include Costs?
In addition to past, current, and estimated future costs, a Life Care Plan may also includes 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.