A Life Care Planner (LCP) is a person who is usually a nurse with experience in catastrophic case management, but doesn't always have to be a nurse. There are some programs which give a certification in life care planning but as far as I know, it isn't a national certification yet. The LCP doesn't have to be a nurse - they can also be a licensed social worker or physical therapist who also has an extensive background in catastrophic case work.
Life Care Planning mostly consists of reviewing the patient's medical records, possibly interviewing the physicians, caregivers, and patient, to determine the life expectancy of the client and the COST & LENGTH OF MEDICAL TREATMENT over the course of that patient's lifetime.
The Life Care Plan is very extensive, it details anticipated costs for DME items for lifetime, length and duration of rehabilitation, cost and duration of prescriptions, etc. The cost of having a life care plan is anywhere from $800 to $1,000, depending on the extent of the catastrophic injury. Some LCP's charge a flat rate, some charge by the hour.
LCP's take their job very seriously and it requires a lot of research. They not only have to figure in the costs of all the different aspects of the patient's care and needs, they also have to figure cost of living and market trends. LCP's are usually called on to testify for attorneys and must be credible and reliable. It's not uncommon for the plaintiff AND defense to have their own LCP's and the judge having to rule on which LCP is the most valid.
The LCP can be a case manager, but not always. It's not always a good idea to have the same case manager who is intimately involved in the case of a patient to also do the life care plan - in some legal circles they consider it a conflict of interest and want an outside objective opinion. Sure, that case manager can give you an idea
based on their knowledge of the case, but if it comes down to something admissable in court, you'd want the outside opinion.