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or During Labor and Delivery?

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Our Birth Brain Injury Resource Guide

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Get a FREE guide of resources available throughout Ohio to children and families of children who were born with brain injuries.

Our guide can help you build a foundation of knowledge and tools that will help you help your child
now and in the future.

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Pediatric Brain Injury – What are the Life Care Plans?

In many cases, a brain injury is a serious and life-altering injury with permanent consequences. A baby with a brain injury often faces a lifetime of medical treatments and limitations they will have to deal with. A doctor may develop a life care plan for this child.

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The Definition of a Life Care Plan

A life care plan is a document which details the current needs of the infant as well as future needs. A doctor will first perform a comprehensive assessment of the child’s condition and make a projection of any expected improvements or decline of the condition.

In one of these plans, the doctor will include the limitations the baby will face as well as changes that will occur with age. It serves as a reference the family and others can access now and in the future.

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Who Uses These Plans?

The document is often created for the parents of the baby, detailing expected treatment needs and the costs of such care. Other caregivers and medical professionals can also refer to this document for treatment and care of the baby as they grow.

Another use for these plans is in court cases. Insurance companies and jurors may review the plan to understand the impact of the medical condition which results from the brain injury. Because the plan includes recommendations for future care as well as the costs associated with such care, courts are better able to award the correct amount of compensation for the injury.

How a Care Plan is Developed

A life care planner will meet with the parents and the baby to assess their current level of medical needs. They will likely visit with them in the home environment so they can make recommendations on changes that will be needed to maximize the child’s potential or provide optimal care. The planners should follow the practice standards for their industry when creating the document.

The planner will most likely meet with medical professionals to get a view of how the condition will change over time or continue to affect the baby as they grow into childhood and then, adulthood. They understand that the condition may not be static, but it will continue to impact the child’s life in the future. One of the goals of the planner is to understand what accommodations may be necessary to give the baby a chance to live as normal a life as possible. They may include receiving an education and getting a job as well as being able to interact with family and friends. Some of the aspects of such a plan include the following:

  • Identifying necessary modifications of the child’s home to improve their ability to function independently
  • Suggestions of living facilities that may be necessary if the condition is expected to become worse over time
  • Identifying medication needs, equipment and supplies as well as any necessary surgeries and therapy for the future – may include transportation and residential care needs
  • Identifying support services to help the family meet the needs of the child
  • Identifying support services to help the child once they reach adulthood
  • Evaluation of classroom needs to allow the child to receive an education
  • Recommending resources to help the child learn to deal with a disability resulting from the brain injury
  • Recommending training options and rehab care to help the child function independently as an adult and to be able to hold a job
  • Recommending support group to provide emotional and social support to the child as they become older

The Use of a Plan in a Legal Setting

Parents who plan to seek compensation for their child’s brain injury from the responsible party will benefit from the plan. Because it contains costs for the necessary care and treatment which is anticipated in the future, courts are better able to award a fair amount of compensation for the ongoing care of the baby.

These plans also provide detailed information about the child’s future needs, which is often difficult to project just on the basis of the current condition. The plans are nonbiased, meaning they are not eschewed in favor of the insurance company, doctor or even the family. Courts often place a high relevance on the information provided in these plans, which could have a major impact on the amount awarded by the court in a brain injury lawsuit.