Life Care Planning provides a way for a patient to secure his or her financial directives, as well as any wishes regarding medical interventions, treatments or other concerns that may arise if the patient is unable to communicate. These documents include wills, living wills, medical and personal powers of attorney documents and medical directives, each of which eliminate the frustration and emotional decision-making process that family members may experience while a loved one faces these medical challenges. Aspects of these documents may also include guidelines for funeral or memorial services, from detailed planning to the concerns over burial or cremation, as well as how to pay for such services.
Because of the delicate nature of Life Care Planning, a nurse must be sensitive and sympathetic to the needs of the patient, as well as family and friends. Additionally, knowledge of the legal process in terms of filing the documents is necessary, as is a familiarity of local social service agencies, and the services provided. This information can be gained through an accredited Life Care Planning program through a campus-based or online nursing school.
Patients facing illness, injury or end-of-life concerns often turn to a nurse with Life Care Planning skills in order to ease the burden on family and friends. These documents not only help families understand the wishes of the patient, but are easily accessible directives for nurses and physicians that may have to act on behalf of the patient in case of emergency situations. A nurse with experience navigating the challenges of Life Care Planning can be instrumental in easing the troubled minds of patients and loved ones during times filled with stress, grief and uncertainty.