What are the Standards of Practice for Life Care Planners?

As certified life care planners, we must adhere to generally accepted ethical and practice standards that guide our professional forensic work. The Standards of Practice for Life Care Planners (IARP, 2005) is the most recently published resource intended to define the core knowledge, skills, and behaviors that life care planners should use in the course of work. In generating these Standards, a group of experienced life care planners took more than two years to review existing consensus statements (from 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2012), completed a role and function study, surveyed professionals in the field, and reviewed other existing professional standards of practice from related fields to arrive at a comprehensive set of guidelines for competent practice. The Standards are generally broken down into core areas including credentials, measurement, and dissemination of core, measurement, and validation of work product, professional self-determination, and early and ongoing development sources. The document is separated into Standards of Performance and Standards of Practice.
Standards of Performance relate to the readiness of an individual to work ethically and competently as a life care planner. Issues such as having the proper educational background, maintaining the appropriate licensures, participating in continuing education, and adherence to professional ethics are stressed. These Standards of Performance spell out the minimum professional requirements for life care planners, yet do not provide specific information regarding the technical practice of producing a plan.
In contrast, The Standards of Practice give clear guidance regarding the generally accepted methods for evaluating an individual and disseminating professional life care planning opinions in written format. They include:

  1. Remaining within the professional scope of practice

  2. LCP must have skill and knowledge in understanding health care needs in the plan

  3. Performs a comprehensive assessment (multiple sources, systematic manner)

  4. LCP uses a consistent, valid, and reliable approach to research, data collection, etc.

  5. LCP Analyzes the data (assess the need for further evaluation or opinions)

  6. LCP uses a planning process (organizing data, a method of inclusion/exclusion of services)

  7. Seeks collaboration when possible (physician conferences, other treatment team members)

  8. Facilitates understanding of the LCP process (maintains objectivity)

  9. LCP Evaluates (review and revise the LCP, follow-up consultation)

  10. May engage in forensic applications (adheres to legal rules and recommendations)

There are many important components of life care planning that flow directly from these Standards. For example:

  • Using non-discounted, market rate prices that are geographically specific when appropriate (Standards 4, 6)

  • Relying on all medical information and opinions to form life care plan recommendations (Standards 1, 2, 3)

  • Providing updated life care plans as the needs of the individual change (Standard 9)

  • Requesting and participating in physician conferences to obtain clear and concise medical recommendations (Standard 7).

We offer complimentary consultations concerning "hypothetical matters." 

To strategize with one of our vocational experts or certified life care planners at Stokes & Associates please call David Barrett at 504-454-5009, visit our website, www.stokes-associates.com or email dbarrett@stokes-associates.com.

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