Thinking about what will happen later in life is something most people tend to ignore. It’s difficult to think about how life will be when we get older and need long-term care in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Anytime these decisions need to be made there are always complicated rules and regulations to navigate. It would be so much easier if there were people there to help interpret rules and bring comfort in a time of great anxiety and indecision. Life care planners do just this. People who want to help those in need of assistance in planning and understanding treatment options should consider enrolling in a distance learning life care planning program.
At this time no online master’s degree programs exist for life care planning but many schools offer online certificate programs for those healthcare professionals who wish to do life care planning with patients of various ages and conditions. Life care planners may work with elderly patients making a transition into long-term care or with patients young and old who may be suffering from chronic or mental illness. Those patients who are recovering from injuries and needing rehabilitative services can also use the services of a life care planner.
Life Care Planning Certificate
Many colleges and universities offer these certificates to healthcare professionals such as registered nurses and occupational therapists. As with most distance learning programs students need computers with high-speed internet access and word processing software to complete assignments. The online courses are delivered in a variety of ways including audio and video lectures, electronic slide shows, online discussions through discussion boards and live chat rooms, various exercises and virtual field trips.
An online certificate in life care planning (LCP) is made up of 6 classes completed within a year. These certificates sometimes require students to attend an in-person seminar in the United States. Locations vary depending upon the location of the college offering the certificate. The seminar is designed to give students practical experience in consulting and testifying used in life care planning.
Life Care Planning Courses
All courses in a life care planning certificate program will be related to the planning that is involved with different types of injuries and medical conditions. Some of the common courses students take are:
- Life care planning professional orientation
- Medical and psychological aspects of life care planning for spinal cord injuries
- Medical and psychological aspects of life care planning for multiple disabilities
- Life care planning for adults and children
The orientation course introduces students to life care planning and different parts of the process such as referral of patients and development of the life care plan. Topics discussed are analyzing medical records, developing data and guidelines for clinical practice. The spinal cord injuries class looks at the impact of paralysis on patients and specifically at paraplegia and tetraplegia. Patient’s ages and level of disability are examined and students are also taught about ventilator-dependent spinal cord patients. Students also learn about research involving people with multiple disabilities and how they are impacted medically and psychologically. Students examine clinical guidelines and relevant literature regarding this subject.
Life Care Planning Careers
Life Care Planners will experience steady growth over the next decade as the population ages and patients suffer with debilitating conditions. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports registered nurses will have 26% annual job growth through 2020. This is very encouraging news since most life care planners have a nursing background. Salaries will be close to $65,000 per year on average with some making over $100,000 yearly.