Life Care Planning is an important part of securing the future of financial and material possessions, as well as any medical treatments, interventions or other wishes of a person facing catastrophic injuries, chronic health problems, illness or death. The guidelines established can help assist doctors, nurses and medical professionals, as well as family, friends and loved ones, carry out the wishes of the person who initiates the directives.
The directives in a life care plan include information about financial and estate planning, such as a will or living will that includes the distribution of cash, assets and even material possessions. Medical directives include preferences for hospice or palliative care as opposed to hospital stays, pain management and living wills. A living will is a legal document that defines a person’s wishes regarding life-prolonging medical treatments. Living wills are also known as advance directives, health care directives, or physician's directives.
Powers of attorney documents may be implemented during the development of a life care plan, giving a trusted friend or family the ability to make important legal, medical or financial decisions when the person in question cannot do it himself or herself.
Funeral or memorial service guidelines may also be established in a life care plan. It is common for families to question what a deceased loved one’s final wishes would be in terms of funeral preparations, burial concerns and how to pay for these arrangements. A set of instructions can be documented to help those surviving make the best decisions possible with as little trouble as possible.
With any financial, legal or medical paperwork, it is important to keep the documentation safe. This can be as simple as notarizing documents, and some states may require the filing of different directives in case there is ever a conflict. Many professionals who specialize in Life Care Planning will be able to give insight into the legal requirements behind any documents contained within a life care plan.
For the person who may eventually face debilitating illness or injury, or who is approaching an age in which end-of-life concerns become urgent, a solid life care plan may bring peace of mind. By documenting the medical, legal and financial instructions needed to make a family’s process of grieving easier, much of the stress and anxiety that occurs during these life-changing moments is eliminated, enabling families and loved ones to appreciate the person’s moments or memories that much more.