The Who's Who of Life Care Plan Recommendations

Creating a cohesive life care plan for use at trial is like choreographing a ballet. When possible, a life care planner should consult and collaborate with members of the interdisciplinary life care planning team, with each team member playing their crucial role. Below is a list of some of the “players” and a brief description of their roles.

Physiatrist: A physiatrist is a medical doctor who is specially trained in physical rehabilitation medicine. They often lead treatment teams in inpatient and outpatient settings and are responsible for generating the overall plan for increased functioning and medical improvement for the injured party. Physiatrists act as the central consultant of the rehab team and can be essential in learning future medical recommendations for interdisciplinary assessments, potential medical complications, the need for additional diagnostics, and the necessity of adaptive equipment.

Physical Therapist: The physical therapist (PT) typically designs a functional rehabilitation program under the supervision of the physiatrist or other treating physician. The PT measures functional limitations and outlines clear, measurable treatment goals that drive physical therapy modalities. The PT can often comment on the need for regular PT evaluations, courses of care, and the need for patient and family training. They can also weigh in on the benefit of a home exercise regimen or health facility such as a gym membership, to maintain functionality gained through physical therapy long-term at a more reasonable cost.

Occupational Therapist: In general, the occupational therapist (OT) addresses activities of daily living such as self-care, bathing, cooking, and dressing. OTs can also perform home visits to assess home safety and home functionality. These opinions are crucial when trying to determine the necessity of home modifications for individuals with acquired mobility problems or other special needs.

Psychologist/Psychiatrist: In general, the psychologist assists with assessment of behavioral and emotional limitations and provides recommendations regarding cognitive rehabilitation, psychotherapy, and the need for emotional and/or social support. The psychiatrist assists with medication management and makes recommendations regarding long-term psychiatric treatment needs.

Prosthetist: In amputation cases, no individual is more important for addressing future prosthetic costs than the prosthetist. Each amputee is different, but all require prostheses that change over time as the amputee’s body changes. Prosthetists are essential for identifying a patient’s individual needs and is usually in the best position to comment on how those needs will change in the future.

Once all the pertinent information is gathered, whether through consultation or record review when consultation is not possible, the life care planner assembles and aggregates the future medical recommendations into a comprehensive life care plan. Although some life care planners prefer to rely on published costs, we at Stokes & Associates, Inc. do customized cost research relevant to the claimant’s geographical location. This extra step ensures that market fluctuations are accurately reflected.

There are other allied health professionals we tend to rely on, for a complimentary consultation with one of our experts at Stokes & Associates, Inc. please call David Barrett at 504-454-5009, visit our website, or email

Larry S. Stokes, Ph.D.
Aaron Wolfson, Ph.D.
Todd Capielano, M.Ed., LRC, CRC, LPC, CLCP