When an individual first experiences a traumatic brain injury, he is initially placed under critical care. Eventually he or she will be released to inpatient rehabilitation, then outpatient care, and maybe then home care. This transition is different for each individual, and therefore no life care plan will suggest the same care and cost of care. However, every plan will have to take into account all these options and the costs associated with them.
The family of an individual with a brain injury faces the difficult decision of whether to keep the person in the family home with support services or to seek his or her admission to a residential care facility. If the family decides on home care, they will probably have to hire help, such as a home nurse, sitter, or visiting therapist. They may also need to make architectural modifications to their home, especially if the injured family member is entirely dependent on a wheelchair for mobility. If this is the case, they may also need to purchase or arrange for special transportation to get the injured to medical appointments.
These changes can be very expensive. For example, an average bathroom modification to allow for safe access by a patient and a caregiver can easily cost $25,000. A life care planner will record all of these potential needs and costs in a life care plan, and also talk to contractors and real estate agents.
The life care planner’s conversations with contractors and real estate agents are not just important to estimate costs and establish a life care plan. They can also help the family decide whether it is more cost effective to remodel a house to provide accessible housing, or to purchase a new home already equipped with accessible feature.
The families may also consider residential care, which generally includes the cost of assistive equipment, medication, care, therapies, and services needed. A life care planner can help determine whether good residential care in a dedicated brain injury facility is more cost effective than home care over the long term.
Finally, the life care planner must consider needs that are expected to change with aging. For example, a brain injury may lead to premature effects of aging on the brain, such as dementia. The risk of another brain injury is also increased, as is the risk of falling. A good life care plan will make provisions for possible complications requiring increasing levels of care with aging, from occasional help at home to residential placement. It is important to explore all of these options early on, especially since some facilities have very long wait lists.
Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. (OAS) is one of the top companies providing vocational expert services in the United States. We have extensive experience creating life care plans for plaintiffs who have suffered a traumatic brain injury. Contact OAS at 800-292-1919 to discuss how we can help with your case.