Life Care Planning Schools: How to Choose
Life care planners assist patients with debilitating, permanent or terminal illnesses. Most life care planners are medical professionals who have studied pain medications, the physiology of death and bereavement processes. Certificates in the field are available, but students usually must have previously completed a bachelor's degree in nursing or a related field.
How to Select a Life Care Planning School
When selecting a life care planning school the first consideration is whether the program complies with the educational requirements of the International Commission on Health Care Certification (ICHCC). The ICHCC prescribes the rules and regulations for life care planning programs and administers the examination to become a Certified Health Care Planner (CHCP). This certification is not legally required to work as a life care planner, but can assist individuals in their employment search.
Another major factor when choosing a life care planning school is the program prerequisites. Most programs areoffered to individuals who have completed a bachelor's degree program in a medical-related field. Some programs, however, require prospective students to hold a master's degree and have at least two years of experience working in the health-care field.
Prospective students must also consider a program's length with respect to their desired graduation date. Some programs consist of six weeks of instruction, while others can require up to three years of study. Similarly, individuals should choose a program with a schedule that fits their lifestyle. Many life care planning programs are available online, but traditional, in-person classes are also offered.
Individuals seeking a life care planning school should also analyze the program's curriculum. While most certificate program curricula cover topics such as medical ethics, grieving and pain management, some programs focus on a specific aspect of end-of-life care, such as legal considerations. An individual interested, for example, in being an expert witness in court on a regular basis might consider attending a legally oriented program.
Life Care Planning Program Overview
Life Care Planning Certificate
Certificate programs in life care planning typically instruct nurses, physicians and other health service providers in pain assessment and management, attachment and loss, case management duties, physiological changes during the dying process and spirituality. Some programs may also provide courses in contract interpretation, damage awards, structured settlements and medical records analysis. Program lengths vary from 6 courses to more than a hundred credit hours, and many programs contain internship requirements.
Post-Graduate Degree Life Care Planning Certificate
Post-graduate life care planning certificate programs are designed for individuals holding a master's degree or higher in a health science field. These programs are intended to provide students with advanced training in end-of-life care. Typically consisting of 33-course credit hours, post-graduate certificate programs provide instruction in research methodologies, leadership and in providing support for specific cultural or age groups, such as children or minorities.
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