Quick Facts :
Certified Life Care Planner

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Bureau of Labor Statistics, Registered Nurses, May 2017

info-icon ADN or BSN
info-icon $73,550 Annual Wage
info-icon 15% Job Growth

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What Is a Certified Life Care Planner?

Although the majority of people who need medical care only need it for a short period of time, there are some that require care for the duration of their lives. These situations often occur when a patient suffers from debilitating illnesses, injuries, or other disabilities, such as diabetes, autism, AIDS and HIV, paralysis, and mental health disorders.

Care plans of this scale require a professional with the ability to understand the nuances of an individual’s health care needs, the foresight to anticipate the progression of a medical issue, and the interpersonal skills to communicate with a patient and family about their wants and needs. It is a life care planner’s job to help design a plan that is safe, effective, and comfortable for the patient.

A certified life care planner is considered a type of case management nurse. Instead of planning and coordinating a patient’s medical care for a short period of time, however, a life care planner is responsible for creating a care plan for the rest of a patient’s life. In some cases, this might be a few months, but in others, it may be several years. The care plans that certified life care planners are often devised based on a number of factors, such as the type and severity of the medical problem as well as the wants, needs, and abilities of the patients and their families. Because not all medical problems and patients are the same, however, no two life care plans are identical, nor are they written in stone.

Certified life care planners must be able to understand the necessary treatments for different medical problems while also taking their patients’ wants, needs, and abilities into consideration. Lifecare planners must have excellent communication and decision making skills, and they need to be able to adjust their patients’ care plans when necessary.

What Do Certified Life Care Planners Do?

As a certified life care planner, the first step that you must take is to assess your patients and their diagnoses. This will help you determine what sort of care they will need in the near and distant future. In order to do this, you will typically need to study your patients’ medical charts as well as interview their doctors. Interviewing your patients and their family members – or other caregivers – will also help you determine what they expect for their care and what they are reasonably able to do, both physically and financially.

Research is another important responsibility of a certified life care planner. A good life care planner will not only take a doctor’s word that a certain treatment is the best course of action, but will also research other treatment options. Experimental and alternative options may also be considered for a life care plan, particularly if a patient is open to less than conventional treatment options.

Lifecare plans that you create for your patients should reasonably meet their needs for long-term medical care. These plans should include what types of treatments that you patients will require, who will perform the medical care, and how the care will be financed, among other things. Since medical treatment is exorbitantly expensive and not everyone is able to finance it, you will also usually be required to work with health insurance companies and government agencies to assist the patient in paying for care. In some cases, you will be required to act as an advocate for your patients in these situations as well, doing what you can to help them get the care that they need.

Where Do Certified Life Care Planners Work?

Lifecare planners are often employed by various medical facilities that cater to patients suffering from long-term medical problems. As a life care planner, you can often seek employment at hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, and hospice care centers. health insurance agencies also work with certified life care planners as well.

How Do I Become a Certified Life Care Planner?

Experience working in the medical field is often mandatory before becoming a certified life care planner. ideally, you should have at least a few years of experience as a registered nurse (RN) or nurse practitioner (NP). Both of these careers require you to earn your nursing degree and pass the required nursing licensure examination.

As you are gaining experience in the nursing field, you can also choose to continue your education and take courses that will put you on the right track toward becoming a certified life care planner. Some of the courses you can expect to take include medical case management, disability management, and life care development.

You will also need to take the Certified Life Care Planner Examination, which is administered by the Commission of Health Care Certification if you opt to gain your certification as a life care planner.

Additional Resources for Nursing Life Care Planners