What is Life Care Planning?
The needs to the elderly and disabled are not just financial. Every day also brings issues concerning health, well-being, and proper care. Life Care Planning focuses on the whole life needs of the elder, not just the financial planning. The goal of life care planning is to promote and maintain the good health, safety, well-being, and quality of life of elders and special needs loved ones, as well as their families. We consider the legal, medical, social, public benefits and financial needs of our Life Care clients as one comprehensive unit. The elder law attorney and our on-staff Elder Care Coordinator will work together with you to establish quality care, help with decisions regarding long term care needs, and find sources to pay for it. Our clients get a wider variety of options for care, as well as knowledgeable guidance and advocacy. We at San Diego Elder Law Center strive to:
- Make sure that your loved one gets the appropriate level of care, whether at home or in a facility, and to maintain the quality of life they deserve.
- Identify public and private resources to help pay for long-term care while resolving issues created by the high cost of such care
- Assist with locating community or private resources for care needs or other necessary support.
- Offer peace of mind that comes when you know your loved ones are safe and getting the care they deserve while preserving the family resources.
The health care industry can be baffling to the consumer. Advocacy for our clients is the centerpiece of Life Care Planning. To enable the client to receive the care and services they need, it is critical that they know that if problems or concerns arise, whether it is medical or legal, there is an advocate ready to assist them in resolving these issues.
How Does Life Care Planning Work?
Typically, our initial contact with a family is related to a crisis situation necessitating immediate action or planning, or a recent diagnosis that will eventually lead to long term chronic care issues. Being unexpectedly faced with these situations, trying to identify what needs to be done, and suddenly finding oneself in a complex maze seeking legal, medical, and social support, can be daunting and overwhelming. The most common thing we hear is “I don’t even know where to begin!”
The first step is to meet with our clients and their families to identify what is happening, and what their needs are, both immediate, and long term. Our Care Coordinator will perform a healthcare assessment and consider appropriate placement and supportive care. While this is going on, Mr. Lindsley and our legal staff will analyze the family income and assets, and help identify resources, public benefits, and prioritize what needs to be done. Our legal team and care coordinator will work together to make sure that the legal and financial plan serves the care plan, and that the care plan considers the appropriate use of financial resources. We will meet with the family to discuss these findings and offer specific care and legal recommendations. We will listen to their questions and concerns and work together to implement the legal and care strategies that best meet their needs and to ensure the families short term and long term needs are firmly in place.
As the care needs change, we will update the Life Care Plan to address the client care needs and quality of life choices may change. We will continue to be your advocate throughout the entire Life Care Plan term.
What does a Care Coordinator do?
The Care Coordinator’s role is to listen to our clients, and to provide information and answer questions so that the client and family can make decisions about the client’s health care needs. Care planning is made up of a lot of moving parts. The goal of Care Planning is to work with you and for you to fit all the pieces together. Some of the ways we help are by:
- Reducing the frustration that is common when dealing with care decision-making
- Providing caregiver coaching and care advocacy
- Guiding the client and family to anticipate and plan for inevitable changes, as well as react to sudden ones
- Helping to make a decision about long-term care settings
- Aiding the client in planning for placement and transfers
- Assisting the client and family in understanding the public benefits that may be available to help pay for needed care (such as Medi-Cal (Medicare) and VA programs), and working with our legal team as we apply and qualify our clients for these programs
- Helping to develop meaningful long-term “care plans” with staff at long-term care facilities
- When in a facility, assuring our client’s right under the law to the best possible care, customized to their needs, is met
- Helping the client and family understand and participate in facility “care conferences” and follow up to make sure the care plan is followed
- Providing education about lesser known community services