There are no online master's degree programs offered specifically in life care planning, but interested students can pursue a certificate in the field. Alternatively, they may enroll in an online Master of Health Administration degree, which is another educational option for students who want to prepare for work in the healthcare industry.
Available mainly from four-year universities and colleges, online life care planning (LCP) certificate programs teach students to navigate the healthcare and legal issues involved in helping individuals develop and implement long-term care strategies. These programs are often pursued by those who wish to obtain professional certification as a Certified Life Care Planner. While the certificate program may contain all online coursework, some on-site training is typically required. For instance, students may be required to attend a seminar on consultation and the testimony process.
Admission requirements vary for these programs, which are often offered through schools' continuing education departments. Most are designed for healthcare professionals with clinical or rehabilitation work experience, including those that are registered nurses, social workers or physical therapists. Applicants may be required to have a bachelor's degree to be eligible for enrollment.
The online certificate in life care planning generally consists of five or six classes that may be completed over the course of a year. In addition to completing coursework, students might be required to attend an in-person seminar, which could be held on campus or at various locations throughout the United States. The goal of the seminar is to give students the experience of the consultation and testimony process used in life care planning.
The following list offers some details on what to expect from online courses in this field.
- Life care planning professional orientation
- Life care planning for spinal cord injuries: adult and pediatric
- Life care planning for multiple disabilities
Life Care Planning Professional Orientation
Students enrolled in this course will be introduced to an overview of the life care planning process, from patient referral to completion of the life care plan. Some of the topics covered in the course include data development, clinical practice guidelines and analysis of medical records.
Life Care Planning for Spinal Cord Injuries: Adult and Pediatric
The primary focus of this course involves the long-term consequences of tetraplegia and paraplegia. Students also learn how the life care planning process takes age and disability into account. Adult versus pediatric patient care differences are outlined as well as information on ventilator-dependent spinal cord patients.
Life Care Planning for Multiple Disabilities
Students enrolled in this course will learn about the various medical and psychological aspects of people who suffer from multiple disabilities. Effective life care planning and consultation techniques for multiple disabilities are emphasized. Research on each disability is provided by clinical practice guidelines, data and relevant literature.
Each college and university has its own specific computer and software requirements for completing an online life care planning certificate. Many of the courses are delivered online and utilize a variety of techniques, such as audio and video lectures, website field trips, electronic slide shows, exercises and online discussions with faculty and other students. Online continuing education programs are often self-paced and give students the freedom to complete coursework when it's convenient for them within a specified time frame.
In online LCP certificate programs, students learn how to evaluate patients' medical situations in order to help them devise long-term lifestyle strategies. These programs utilize a wide range of virtual teaching techniques to provide comprehensive instruction in this specialized subject.