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What is a Life Care Plan? Part 1

Santo Steven BiFulco MD

Dr. BiFulco is a Physical Medicine, Rehabilitation, and Pain Medicine Specialist who has practiced in Florida and New York since 1990. Dr...

Dr. BiFulco is a Physical Medicine, Rehabilitation, and Pain Medicine Specialist who has practiced in Florida and New York since 1990. Dr...

Oct 2 5 minutes read

A life care plan is something we all hope we will never need. In the case of injury or disability, however, it provides answers for the future that cannot be acquired in any other way. That is why, as a practicing physician with decades of experience, I was drawn to this line of work. In this blog post series, we will answer the following questions:

  1. What is a life care plan, and how does it work?

  2. Do you need a life care plan as you recover and live out your remaining years?

  3. What are the key takeaways in understanding the purpose of a life care plan?

First, however, I want to tell you about *Seth, one of my patients and clients. Seth was the sole occupant of the bed of a pickup. When the truck hit a tree, he was ejected. 3 other occupants inside the cab were minimally hurt or unharmed. Seth, however, was paralyzed from the neck down.

What followed was years of hardship. With few resources available, family became Seth’s primary source of care. His father, in particular, was forced to take over daily care tasks. Seth no longer had access to any of the activities that defined him. He spent years fighting and negotiating with the insurance company. In the meantime, he developed painful pressure sores and many other complications.

I met Seth at his home for an examination He told me that he was floundering and felt lost. It was a very tough situation for this young man with so much potential. Following that meeting, as a life care planner, I was able to put together a document including projected optimal care and the associated costs. Together, we communicated to a jury about Seth’s real needs and economic and non-economic losses suffered in the accident.

I’m happy to report that we obtained a just verdict. Seth can now live in a way that gives him back his dignity. His sores are healed. He can travel in his community, and has adequate care. He can interact with friends and family. He is on the long road to recovery. Thanks to life care planning, he is building his life back after it was shattered.

Even though we were unable to help him walk again, we did introduce Seth to state-of-the-art wearable orthotics. He even got some mobility in his lower extremities. This gave him a sense of purpose to live, and the resources to be able to get the care he desperately needed. The life care plan he received improved Seth’s quality of life, and reduced the risk of complications, suffering, and pain, to reach his rehabilitation potential. I share his story to illustrate the amazing things that can happen when a life care plan follows traumatic and life-altering tragedy.

What is a Life Care Plan, and How Does it Work?

A life care plan is a comprehensive report, which should be written by a healthcare professional or a physician. (While a nurse or someone else with a medical background can write a life care plan, only a doctor can defend their diagnosis personally in court.) 

It answers 3 important questions on behalf of someone with a serious injury:

  • What does the person have (i.e. what is their condition)?

  • What does someone need (in terms of care)?

  • What will the care cost over the course of an individual’s lifetime?

In summary, a life care plan lays out what an injured person and their family will require, and what those requirements will cost.

In part two of this blog post series, we will dive into some of the more nuanced characteristics of a life care plan; in the meantime, feel free to reach out to the BiFulco Medical Group to ask additional questions or to inquire re: a consultation for yourself, a loved one, or a client.

*Seth’s real identity is hidden to protect him and his family.

Meet Dr. BiFulco

It is Time to Stop Suffering; Relief is Available

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