Life Care Planning in Pediatric Cases

Although life care planning methodology remains consistent across adult and pediatric cases, there are some unique circumstances the life care planner will likely need to consider when conducting the plan of a child. In pediatric cases, meeting with relevant family members or caregivers could be a significant piece of the process. A home assessment may also be useful and in some cases necessary, in gathering relevant information about the child. 
 
In pediatric life care planning, the family members are often significantly impacted as a result of caring for a child with special needs and adopt roles and responsibilities that would otherwise not be required.  For instance, a special needs child may need constant supervision, diapering, or nighttime feedings long after the reasonable demands of childhood requires a caregiver.  As the child ages, developmental delays can become more apparent, resulting in an increasing need for care.  Although the rehabilitation goal is typically to maintain the individual in their least restrictive environment, long-term living options such as facility care may need to be explored for when the child ages.
 
During the interview process, the life care planner can obtain critical information from the family regarding the child’s medical history and can begin to assess if there are differences in care needs that have occurred since disability onset.  The family interview can also assist in obtaining information regarding the child’s growth and development as well as the child’s ability to perform the age-appropriate activities of daily living. An interview of the family can aid in the gathering of relevant information about the child’s specific treatment, medication, equipment, supplies, transportation, school status, and education needs, as well as the family’s ability to adjust to the child’s disability needs.
 
When pricing out future costs, depending on the service or item, there may be differences in costs for pediatric services and items which could impact the long-term plan if not adequately priced.  The replacement of items may also differ in childhood than in adulthood. For instance, a child’s wheelchair may need to be replaced more frequently than an adult's wheelchair due to the rapid growth spurts of the child. The child’s medication needs can also differ significantly than as an adult. Consultation with relevant caregivers, which often includes physicians, allied health providers or other specialists, could clarify and verify specific differences in the level of care as the child ages.
 
For more information on methodology, pricing or other cost research related to life care plans, we offer complimentary consultations.

To strategize with one of our licensed vocational experts or certified life care planners 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

David Barrett