Abstract

In catastrophic injury cases, attorneys may request that a budget, often called a life care plan (LCP), be created to estimate expenses that a client will have in the future. The LCP is a budgeting process that requires a thorough understanding of a patient's condition, rehabilitation, and future needs to estimate what services and costs are likely to be needed in the future. The physician determines the extent and sequelae of the patient's physical and cognitive impairments; estimates a prognosis; estimates the need for and benefit of further medical and rehabilitative interventions; and then calculates the costs of future personal needs. Such a model first requires an accurate prognostication of the patient's life expectancy. Various costs projections are evaluated to estimate costs related to supplies, medications, physician and therapist services, and home and transportation modifications. Finally, such costs must be placed in an economic model in order to determine how the costs of inflation will modify the LCP. A competently formulated LCP can be a useful tool in estimating the future costs in catastrophic patient care. The article also presents a case example using a spinal cord injury to demonstrate how an LCP can be constructed.

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