- Posted August 12, 2013 by
Pocatello, Idaho 83201, Idaho
Robbie Garrett – Legal Nurse Consultant on Life Care Planning
Today I finally caught up with Robbie Garrett, Legal Nurse Consultant to see if I could get an interview about the nuances of a Life Care Plan for injured or disabled persons. Robbie is warm and friendly, with a quite humor. She is a woman on the go with a deep passion for what she does in the nursing community. Always pushing for better conditions and care for her and her fellow nurse’s patients, she is a manager, a mentor and an educator of the first order. Robbie not only works to better the condition of her patients, but also continues to push herself to grow, learn and keep up with the latest regulations and methods while furthering her nursing, technology and administrator education. Having over 18 years of nursing experience in rehab, case management, long term care, risk management, medical floor nursing and performance improvement processes gives her the clinical knowledge, experience, research tools and an industry network to bring to positive fruition her client’s cases.
Though she has very little patience with excuses for shoddy health care practices, she would “find a needle in a haystack, if I thought it would help a patient’s outcome.” Her passion for patient safety, high standard for quality of care, comes because she thinks that if people put their trust in hospitals and their trust in the medical community, then these institutions “owe it to them to make sure we provide exceptional care, 100% of the time, no matter what we are doing.”
When I asked her, “What is necessary to create a life care plan for someone who has been physically injured to the point of a major disability?”
She replied “To help them get the resources needed, for their care, they have to have, now and into the future. I use nursing diagnosis to identify expected outcomes based on their current diagnosis as well as any complications that might come up in the future because of their diagnosis. I then build this into their Life Care Plan to make it a smooth transition for them.”
The purpose of the Life Care Plan is to help them in their everyday life, to get back on track and at least have a quality of life that is possible within the extent of their injury. It may not replace their prior quality of life, but the properly prepared Life Care Plan can outline the resources needed to provide them a quality of life comparable to what they had. It also may contain elements of their previous life, for which they have a passion. For example: If someone loves the outdoors and used to hunt but can no longer get out to hunt, with discussion and agreement of the client, included in the Life Care Plan would be a settlement to help the client still enjoy portions of the outdoors such as fishing or taking trips.
She says, “the focus of a real care plan is all about the person as a whole” and not just taking care of their medical needs. It is about restoring a quality of life, to allow them to function and enjoy the Quality of Life that was taken from them, within the bounds of their disability. It tries to eliminate the reasonable concerns of constraints regarding the burden of care and finances which may ruin their family’s life and savings.
I asked “How can you affect that Quality of Life?” “By providing them with the resources they need to gain independence, if possible, and to provide them with a safe environment. I assess their present needs based on their diagnosis and include future needs based on expected deterioration of their condition that could be reasonably expected. If they cannot get around their house, then an assessment of their house is in order. We need to make sure they can be mobile while being safe, whether at home or outside the home even if it included a modified floor plan, the addition of assistive devices and mobility devices.”
“What would be an example of a future need that would be addressed?” “There are family needs to take into consideration. Sometimes their family needs a break with somebody to come over and help care for the client. I include that in the life care plan.” Some conditions, unfortunately due to the state of their injury, will deteriorate over time, requiring more care, more adaptive devices, more physical therapy, more commitment from family and external care givers. All this must be taken into account when making sure a Life Care Plan will indeed take care of an injured party for their life.
When asked if someone who had an injury could only look forward to a pretty miserable life, she replied “Absolutely not! There are many things that can be done to help an injured person adapt to their new environment. They might need help in learning new habits, and new way of doing things. In our assessment, we go down to the level of daily routines.”
• What do they do when they wake up in the morning?
• What assistance are they going to need throughout the day?
• How do they get dressed?
• Do they have adaptive equipment to help them get dressed?
• How do they get around the house?
• How do they get around outside?
• What are the safety features of the house?
• Can they get out of the house safely if nobody is home?
• Do they need to be in an environment where they always have someone with them?
• Is their family member taking on the burden by taking over as their care giver?
• Does the family member need help, respite time or have an assistant come in to give them a break?
As you can see, Life Care Planning is a comprehensive study of more than just the immediately known needs such as therapy, doctor visits, prescriptions, wheelchairs and hospital beds. You have to “Look at the patient as a whole. What do they enjoy, what do they love? What is it that will give them the Quality of Life they deserve?” A good Life Care Planner will ask the questions, look at their current resources, and inquire about their current wants, likes and dislikes. She says “Ask the client, is this something you are interested in doing as part of your treatment or incorporating in your life?” If they say no, then it does not make sense to put this into a Life Care Plan. It is important to look at the whole picture. Look at the client. This is the real person with real needs and who would be using the various aspects of the care plan. “They didn’t ask for this illness or this disability and I think it is fair to make it as close to and as high of a Quality of Life as they can get.”
Attorneys or clients interested in exploring the viability of their claim and preparing a Life Care Plan or other related needs, may contact:
“Professional Solutions for Complex Cases”
Or visit the website at
Get a free initial consultation and evaluation.