San Diego Elder Law

Life-Care Planning

Whole Life Needs

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 when problems or concerns arise, whether it is medical or legal, there is an advocate ready to assist them in resolving it.

Life-Care Questions

Typically, our initial contact with a family is in a crisis demanding immediate action, or soon after a diagnosis of a debilitating chronic condition. Being unexpectedly faced with these situations, trying to identify what needs to be done, and 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!”

In Life Care Planning, our 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 health care assessment and consider appropriate placement and supportive care options.  At the same time, Mr. Lindsley and our legal staff will be analyzing the family income and assets, and helping identify resources, public benefits, and prioritizing what needs to be done.  Our legal team and care coordinator will work together, and with other professionals,  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, benefits, 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. 

Over time, we will update the Life Care Plan as the client’s care needs, program eligibility, and quality of life choices change. We will continue to be your advocate throughout the entire Life Care Plan term.

If you are interested exploring Life Care Planning for your family, you begin with a phone call to our office.

Advocacy is the cornerstone of our Life Care Planning services at San Diego Elder Law Center. Problems related to admissions, attempted discharge, improper transfers and inadequate therapy are just a few of the issues we routinely face. The consumer has significant rights under State and Federal law, frequently ignored in the haste of discharge and care planning and in the press of business at health care facilities. At San Diego Elder Law Center, we know the law and applicable regulations. Through our attorneys, paralegal staff and Care Coordinator, we help our Life Care Planning clients assert their rights to the care needed to attain their highest practicable level of health, social and psychological functioning. If there is an issue, we will first attempt to negotiate with facility staff through our Care Coordinator. This usually will solve most problems. If not, our attorneys can file administrative actions for appropriate orders and rulings. There is no charge for our advocacy services for our Life Care Planning clients. It is part of their annual fee.

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

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