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IALCP Transdisciplinary Practice Position Paper

July 26, 2019

The International Academy of Life Care Planners (IALCP) board recently authored a statement about who is most qualified to author life care plans.”… it is, and has been, the position of this community that life care planning is a practice open to all those who demonstrate the appropriate qualifications, experience, and skill to author life care plans. … This paper is a reminder to the community, from the community, that the best life care plans depend on input from a variety of professionals.”

The paper is copied below:

The International Academy of Life Care Planners continues to be the leading organization promoting the transdisciplinary practice of life care planning. That means that it is, and has been, the position of this community that life care planning is a practice open to all those who demonstrate the appropriate qualifications, experience, and skill to author life care plans. There has been some recent concern among some life care planners about who is most qualified to author life care plans.

This paper is a reminder to the community, from the community, that the best life care plans depend on input from a variety of professionals. The life care planner analyzes information from multiple sources to create a consistent, comprehensive document using in-depth knowledge, experience, and clinical skills. It reflects the collaborative coordination of several professionals. There is no single profession that can claim to be the most qualified to do this.

Our standards of practice remind us of this through this description of the origins of life care planning. (IALCP, 2015):

Historical Perspective
The development of an individualized plan of care has always been considered an integral part of the medical and rehabilitation process. This type of plan has historically been used by multiple disciplines. Rehabilitation professionals have created a rehabilitation plan. Nurses developed a nursing care plan. Physicians defined a medical treatment plan, and other professions developed plans specific to their practice. An integrated plan that includes all disciplines and specific costs of care has become an increasingly important aspect of the health care process due to rapid growth in medical technology and an increased emphasis on the cost of care. This process of developing an integrated plan and delineating costs has evolved over an extensive period of time and is now utilized by case managers, counselors, and other professionals in many sectors. These plans are also a valuable tool for rehabilitation planning, service implementation, management of health care resources, discharge planning, educational and vocational planning, and long-term managed care, among other areas.

Transdisciplinary Perspective
Life care planning is a transdisciplinary specialty practice. Each profession brings to the process of life care planning practice standards which must be adhered to by the individual professional, and these standards remain applicable while the practitioner engages in life care planning activities. Each professional works within specific standards of practice and regulatory requirements for his or her discipline to ensure accountability, provide direction, and mandate responsibility for the standards for which he or she is accountable. (I.C)

Further, the standards of practice clearly identify the educational background and professional preparation required (IALCP, 2015):

a. Possesses the appropriate educational requirements in a rehabilitation or health care field as defined by his or her professional discipline.
b. Maintains current professional licensure, provincial registration, or national board certification that is required to practice a professional rehabilitation or health care discipline.
c. Demonstrates that the professional discipline provides sufficient education and training to assure that the life care planner has an understanding of human anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, psychosocial and family dynamics, the health care delivery system, the role and function of various health care professionals, and clinical practice guidelines and standards of care. The education and training allows practitioners in the discipline to independently perform assessments, analyze and interpret data, make judgments and decisions on goals and interventions, and evaluate responses and outcomes.

Healthy debates continue to flourish around how the best life care plans are developed based on the best methodologies and these conversations only make our practice better. However, these do not and should not result in any single profession claiming superiority over others. The quality of the life care plans should be judged on the life care plan product, not the profession of the author.

Further information on the scope of practice of the most common professions that create life care plans, and the scope of recommendations that they can contribute to future care planning can be found in the Journal of Life Care Planning, Volume 17, Number 1, 2019. The content of this journal clearly exemplifies the necessity of collaborative practice in life care planning.

Sincerely, IALCP Board

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