Select a Qualified Life Care Planner

For a case that warrants a life care planner, a colleague provides the name of someone they have used before.  A curriculum vitae (CV) may or may not be on hand, but either way, will this person be helpful to your case? 

First of all, it is important to understand that life care planning is a profession with its own standards of practice, certified professionals, and peer-reviewed journals, textbooks, and annual conferences.  “Life Care Planner” is a trademarked term to be used by those who are certified by the International Commission on Health Care Certifications (ICHCC) or certified by the Certified Nurse Life Care Planner (CNLCP®) Certification Board.  Even Physician Certified Life Care Planners meet the requirements set out by the ICHCC.  When a life care plan is developed using a methodology consistent with the standards of practice for life care planners, the plan should be able to be replicated by another life care planner regardless of professional designation.  Without a certification in life care planning, the professional you retain to provide life care planning services may not know the life care planning methodology needed to provide a defensible expert report.

Besides certification, there are other items to consider when reviewing a professional’s CV to determine their qualifications for providing life care planning services that will meet your client’s needs.  

Does the life care planner have relevant education, work, and forensic experience?  If the evaluee has a traumatic brain injury, does the life care planner outline relevant continuing education courses and hands-on work experience with this population?  Certified life care planners are required to have at least three years of relevant rehabilitation experience.  This allows a variety of work experiences that they will reflect upon in their life care planning practice.  If the life care planner is new to forensic work, they will likely require some guidance regarding report writing, court rules, and resources on providing expert testimony.  

Does the life care planner engage in professional life care planning activities such as subscribing to the profession’s journal and attending life care planning conferences and courses?  Life care planning evolved out of the rehabilitation profession in the 1980s. Understanding the history of life care planning and the prominent professionals who have developed the profession assists the life care planner in their role of educating the court.

Individuals of any profession tend to participate in professional activities and subscribe to professional journals as part of their ongoing professional development.  Is the life care planner a member of the International Academy of Rehabilitation Professionals (IARP)?

IARP publishes the standards of practice for life care planners.  Being a member of IARP provides the life care planner with real-time updates from the field of life care planning through online community networks and the Journal of Life Care Planning.  

These organizations provide updated definitions, standards, and treatment guidelines that impact the development of a life care plan.   

The more time an individual commits to their profession, the more integrated they become in the profession’s language and standards.  Publishing an article within a peer-reviewed journal requires a deep dive into a topic, exemplary writing skills, and acceptance of the writing by other professionals within the field.  Within life care planning, this translates into more ease educating others about the standards of practice of life care planning and the development of a defensible plan.

When a professional is recognized by their peers for an achievement, it adds more credibility to them as a professional, especially in the court of public opinion.

Many times, life care planners have a history of working with a special population (e.g. worker’s compensation system, school system, concussion, facial burns, spinal cord injury, etc.) that may benefit your case.  If they do not, they may know another life care planner who would be suitable.

Life care planners are trained not to be a “secretary”, simply providing the costs of others’ recommendations, nor a “know-it-all” relying on themselves for each recommendation.  By asking the life care planner how they have established the medical foundation for the life care plan, you are ensuring they are aware of and following the standards of practice for life care planners.  Establishing a medical foundation should include: 

Turning Point Life Care Planning takes pride in having a group of highly qualified Certified Life Care Planners who meet these criteria.  Each therapist comes with years of hands-on rehabilitation experience to be able to develop a life care plan for many types of injury, e.g. TBI, PTSD, SCI, Chronic Pain, Somatic Symptom Disorder, Amputations, Burns, Pediatrics, Medical Complications, Disfigurement, Psychiatric Disorders, etc.