Rehabilitation After a Life-changing Injury
The early weeks and months following a traumatic injury can be hugely challenging for both the injured person and their family. Many questions need answering and whilst a compensation claim may follow, the initial focus will be on rehabilitation – there are various options open to you and support channels available.
Our specialist team of catastrophic injury lawyers follow the Rehabilitation Code of Practice – a framework agreed by both the claimant’s solicitor and the defendant (the insurer) which puts the needs of the injured party to the fore of the claims process.
What is the aim of the Rehabilitation Code?
The Rehabilitation Code 2015 is a voluntary code of practice. It has been designed to encourage both parties to work together with the focus on the needs of the injured party – their physical, psychological, vocational and other needs.
The code centres on the claimant’s need for their rehabilitation to be fully assessed and addressed as a priority and handled on a collaborative basis.
Our specialist solicitors are skilled at working with a wide range of experts to establish what level of compensation is needed to return the injured person to their financial position, prior to their accident, and consider what finances they will need for the future.
The road to recovery following a catastrophic injury
Once the acute healing phase is completed, ongoing assessment may determine that further rehabilitation is required. The aim of rehabilitation is to maximise functioning, with a focus on mobilisation, weight bearing and day to day needs such as washing, dressing, and eating.
Robust rehabilitation ensures the best outcomes for physical, psychological and social recovery following trauma. Ongoing support may be required for psychological rehabilitation. Later, in cases where a person has suffered life changing injury, there may be a need for vocational rehabilitation, to assist with a return to work.
Rehabilitation does not necessarily need to be carried out in an acute hospital setting but is more likely to be facilitated by a specialist rehabilitation centre or through outpatient appointments. Rehabilitation therapies may also be supported at home, or through residential transitional living, depending on what is required.
Even if you have not received a rehabilitation package and you believe you may benefit from rehabilitation therapies, you are entitled to seek support, through your GP or consultant. It is also possible to contact rehabilitation services yourself, directly.
Guidance following a catastrophic injury for you and your family
When dealing with your claim, we will initially work on securing an early payment to directly fund your rehabilitation. If you have suffered a major trauma you may require medical support and treatment for many different professionals including physiotherapists and occupational therapists. We will work with all professionals to bring together a rehabilitation programme that best suits your particular needs.
Preparing for your return home after a life-changing injury
When thoughts turn to returning home your treating therapists, at hospital, will discuss and ensure you have essential equipment to ensure your safety and comfort.
An occupational therapist (OT) will normally give advice on equipment requirements and any immediate adaptations needed to the home.
When you have a compensation claim following your injury, our specialist solicitors will seek an early interim payment from the third party insurers to assist with accommodation needs.
For some people they may spend a significant period of time recovering in a rehabilitation centre, following discharge from an acute trauma ward. During that time, homes can be adapted which will assist with speedier hospital discharge.
Case management and counselling support
A case manager arranges a collaborative and co-ordinated programme between the injured person and the health and social services experts. The appointment of a case manager is not only essential to your recovery but also benefits the hospital as they can help with accessing the right pathways to a recovery, and a successful discharge.
Case Managers have a duty to safeguard your privacy and support you with key decision- making regarding your treatment.
Some of our clients seek counselling, often at different times of the recovery process. There are telephone helplines offered by various charities. Moving Minds offers support for those affected by a sudden personal injury.
Money issues may build when you, or a member of your family is unexpectedly seriously injured. Often someone is too ill to manage their own financial affairs, particularly in the early weeks, post injury.
It is important family members check insurance policies as these may contain medical or health insurance. Many employers will have a group insurance policies on behalf of the staff and workforce.
If someone is too ill to manage their own financial affairs then they will need a mental capacity assessment. This needs to be made by a doctor or a mental health trained practitioner.
Following a traumatic injury it is recognised that a person’s capacity may well change, and return, as they recover. Where there is lasting brain injury, the Court of Protection will need to appoint a financial Deputy who will assist with managing financial matters.
Lasting Power of Attorney
When someone is over 18, retains mental capacity but decides that as they are too unwell to deal with their finances, they wish to ask someone else to make decisions for them, a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) can be drawn up.
When your child suffers a major trauma it is life-changing for all the family and you may need a paediatric case manager to co-ordinate rehabilitation.
With those suffering a loss of limb, Osbornes Law is a Legal Panel member of the Limbless Association and their local hubs offer practical support.
Welfare benefits advice/public law advice
It is important for welfare benefits to be accessed as quickly as possible, but navigating through the welfare benefits system can be challenging!
At Osbornes Law we have a team of specialist welfare benefits and public law solicitors, led by William Ford, who will assist you with navigating the system and deciding your entitlement regarding statutory benefits.
We do find that people are often worried about losing their right to benefits if they make a claim for compensation. They do not need to worry as the law provides for a personal injury trust to be set up to protect your compensation and the payments made into the trust are excluded from means tested assessments.
Returning to work
For many, returning to employment or staying at their current work is an important goal. Even with the most challenging injuries, a specialist in vocational rehabilitation, can help significantly to develop the abilities you have retained. They can also help with identifying enjoyable occupational activity that may suit your life changes.
It is important to ensure that you find professionals with experience of returning someone with your particular injuries to meaningful employment. For some a phased return to work may be appropriate to avoid excessive fatigue.
Our solicitors have worked for many years with different vocational rehab specialists. The Vocational Rehabilitation Association lists providers, who you may wish to contact.
Charities offering support
There are many great charities who are able to offer first class support to the injured person and their family.
We have close links with various charities including Headway East London, the Limbless Association and many others. Contact us and we will help with making contact with the charities that will be able to support and best meet your needs.
For a confidential discussion regarding your claim call 020 7485 8811. Our Catastrophic Injury team led by Ben Posford will be pleased to speak with you.