Lesson 6 taught you the various roles and expertise of several different types of professionals that may be involved in the life care planning process. When a life care planner needs to collaborate with other professionals in order to obtain recommendations, the life care planner must be able to effectively communicate what is needed in order to effectively establish a foundation for the life care plan and ask questions in a clear and concise manner that can be answered by the appropriate professional.
When the life care planner consults with the other members of the treatment team, the life care planner is looking for information based on the current status and future needs of the client. Questions that are too broad, general, or speculative will not provide the life care planner with the information necessary to develop a foundation for the recommendation. Remember, questions should be specific to each professional’s specialty and worded in such a way as to get the information needed. Avoid asking the professional questions that they are unable to answer.
For example, it is inappropriate to ask a speech language therapist to project the physical therapy needed by the client. More appropriate questions would focus on the frequency and duration of speech therapy or suggested assistive communication devices.
A comprehensive review of medical records should be completed before consultation with members of the treatment team begins. This is important so that you are updated with the case and able to ask appropriate questions. Your ability to communicate in a manner specific to the patient, will show that you are a knowledgeable professional and have an expertise in rehabilitation planning.
Some medical professionals and therapists are disinclined to predict future care needs because they do not want to commit to a treatment plan that may later prove erroneous. When asking questions, be sure to use careful wording.
For example: Based on Sally’s current status and to prevent complications, how often, ideally, should she be followed in the future?………. times per year for routine care at an estimated office visit cost of $………. per visit (private pay rate please, not insurance or Medicaid allowances).
In light of Sally’s current disability, do you anticipate the need for any surgeries to correct her contractures?………If yes, please explain,……………
Although these questions are specific to Sally’s case, the questions are posed in such a way that the replies are based on what is currently known about the client and what can reasonably be expected in the future.
When you begin to consult with treatment team members, you may elicit a quicker response if you fax a signed HIPPA release form, a brief questionnaire, and a short letter that defines the purpose of what you are doing. Keep the amount of questions to a minimum and use an easy format for responses. Checklists, fill in the blanks, and yes/no formats will be easier for the consultant to complete and will likely generate a faster response. Include a signature and date line at the conclusion of your form and clearly identify who you are and your fax number or address in order get a faster response.