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Planning Long-Term Care Costs for Spinal Injury Patients

Planning Long-Term Care Costs for Spinal Injury Patients

There are around 54 spinal cord injury cases per one million people in the US, which equates to around 18k new cases each year. People suffer spinal cord injuries for a variety of reasons, but car accidents are a common factor.
Suffering a spinal cord injury can be a devastating experience, both physically and financially. The costs associated with long-term care and rehabilitation for spinal injury patients can quickly become overwhelming.
Understanding the Costs of Spinal Injury Care
Spinal cord injuries can range in severity, from incomplete injuries that allow for some movement and sensation, to complete injuries that result in full paralysis. The level and extent of the injury directly impacts the type and duration of care required, as well as the associated costs. The first year is always the most expensive, after which, costs typically go down. As an example, recurring annual costs for a person with low tetraplegia can be $54,400, while for someone with high tetraplegia, costs can be as high as $132,807.
Some of the key expenses spinal injury patients and their families may face include:
• Acute hospital care: The initial hospitalization and stabilization of the injury can cost tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the treatment required.
• Rehabilitation services: Physical, occupational, and/or speech therapy, as well as other rehabilitative care, is crucial for regaining function and independence. These services can cost hundreds of dollars per session.
• Assistive equipment: Wheelchairs, walkers, braces, and other mobility aids are essential but can cost thousands of dollars.
• Home modifications: Renovations to a patient’s home, such as installing ramps, widening doorways, and adapting bathrooms, may be necessary to accommodate their new needs.
• Long-term care: Ongoing nursing care, either in a facility or in-home, can cost $5,000 or more per month, depending on the level of care required.
• Transportation: Wheelchair-accessible vehicles and specialized transport services add significant ongoing costs.
Exploring Funding Sources
Given the substantial costs involved, it’s crucial for spinal injury patients and their families to explore all possible funding sources to cover these expenses. Some key options include:
Government Benefits
Medicare and Medicaid: These federal and state-run programs can provide coverage for various aspects of spinal injury care, but the eligibility requirements and coverage details can be complex.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): Patients who have worked and paid into the Social Security system may be eligible for SSDI benefits to help cover costs.
Vocational Rehabilitation Services: Some state-run programs offer funding for job training and assistive technology to help spinal injury patients return to work.
Private Insurance
Health insurance: Evaluating the patient’s private health insurance policy to understand the coverage for spinal injury-related services is essential.
Disability insurance: Some individuals may have private long-term disability insurance policies that can provide financial support.
Automobile insurance: If the spinal injury was the result of a car accident, the patient’s auto insurance may cover certain rehabilitation and care costs.
Legal Settlements
Personal injury lawsuits: Pursuing legal action against the party responsible for the spinal injury can result in a settlement or award that can be used to fund long-term care – this is something we can help you with.
Structured settlements: Settlements can be structured to provide a steady stream of payments over time to cover ongoing expenses.
Planning for the Future
Developing a comprehensive long-term care plan is crucial for spinal injury patients and their families. This plan should consider the patient’s current and projected future needs, as well as the available funding sources. Key elements of the plan may include:
Life Care Planning
Engaging a life care planner to assess the patient’s needs and create a detailed, evidence-based plan for their long-term care requirements and associated costs.
Regularly updating the life care plan as the patient’s condition and needs evolve over time.
Financial Planning
Working with a financial advisor to create a budget and investment strategy to cover the anticipated long-term care costs.
Exploring options like special needs trusts, ABLE accounts, and other financial vehicles designed to protect assets and eligibility for government benefits.
Ensuring the patient’s estate planning documents, such as a will and power of attorney, are in order.
Advocacy and Support
Connecting the patient and their family with support groups, community organizations, and other resources to help navigate the complexities of long-term care.
Advocating for the patient’s rights and ensuring they receive the necessary care and services, whether through private insurance, government programs, or legal action.
By proactively planning for the long-term care needs of spinal injury patients, personal injury law firms can help their clients and their families achieve the best possible outcomes and quality of life.
If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal injury, talk to one of our experienced lawyers today. You can visit our offices at the following locations:
• 2005 West Main St. Tupelo, MS 38801
• 406 Galleria Dr., Suite 7 Oxford, MS 38655
• 1671 Lelia Dr., Suite B, Jackson, MS 39216
• 5100 Poplar Ave., Suite 2700 Memphis, TN 38137
Call us today for a free consultation on (888) 484-1476.

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2005 West Main St. Tupelo, MS 38801


406 Galleria Dr., Suite 7 Oxford, MS 38655


1671 Lelia Dr Suite B, Jackson, MS 39216


5100 Poplar Ave., Suite 2700 Memphis, TN 38137


905 Main Street, Columbus MS 39701

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