Rehabilitation In Personal Injury Claims
During the course of a personal injury claim, clients may have suffered from a physical injury or a physical injury and psychological symptoms as a result of an accident. In order to aid the recovery of injuries sustained rehabilitation forms a crucial part of a recovery programme. This helps clients to mitigate their losses and try to get back to the position that they were in prior to the accident or as close as possible.
My blog deals with just a few examples of rehabilitation that may assist.
Rehabilitation can be both available on the NHS and through private treatment options.
As a personal injury solicitor, I regularly see physiotherapists working closely with spinal consultants, doctors, nurses and occupational therapists to assist in the rehabilitation process after a patient has suffered a spinal injury. The main aim is to try and restore movement, whether this is partial or full movement.
Physiotherapy treatment can give patients a goal and focus and can in some cases help with building confidence after a patient has suffered an unfortunate spinal injury.
Physiotherapists tend to assist after a patient has had an operation. A plan can be devised depending on the individual’s needs and requirements to help restore some form of mobility. This can include help with the following:-
- Exercise plans
- Help with getting into an out of bed to assist a carer
- Help transferring from a chair to a vehicle
- Help with walking
- Help managing stairs
Physiotherapy treatment can be ongoing for a long period of time. It is important to find a physiotherapist you can trust and build a relationship with.
Physiotherapy treatment is available on both the NHS and privately.
There are a number of different forms of physiotherapy which can include:
- Pain Management
- Bed mobility
- Standing programme/body weight support treadmills
- Hydrotherapy and swimming programmes
- Sports and gyms
- Frames and wheel chairs to assist
- Exercise bikes
I am currently representing clients who are in the post recovery period following surgery. My clients treating consultants have recommended a course of intense physiotherapy treatment. Whilst physiotherapy can be arranged through the NHS, in my experience my clients have been placed on long waiting lists. I will always discuss the options of private physiotherapy treatment with the Defendant representatives and ask that they engage with me in the Rehabilitation Code. The physiotherapists will prepare an initial treatment plan and provide a progress report and if applicable a discharge report. Physiotherapists may need to work alongside Occupational Therapists and other medical professionals to provide a suitable treatment plan.
If you have suffered a spinal injury as a result of an accident and you are pursuing a personal injury claim, physiotherapy treatment can often be arranged privately. Insurance Companies can offer this under the Rehabilitation Code (Code of Best Practice on Rehabilitation, Early Intervention and Medical Treatment in Personal Injury claims).
Cognitive behavioural therapy
Cognitive behavioural therapy treatment is an option for clients who have suffered post traumatic stress disorder and anxiety related symptoms following a personal injury accident.
Clinical Psychologists and Psychiatrists will often recommend this as a form of treatment. However CBT has also been linked as an intervention for patients who suffer with chronic pain.
The Brain Injury Group consider that Neurologic Music Therapy is proven to be an effective treatment to help with verbal communication. For example a patient who may have suffered a stroke will lose their ability to communicate verbally in some cases. Music may help develop new pathways to the brain.
It is considered that neurological music therapy could aid walking with rhythm sounds and singing music can improve speech and may assist with speech therapy. It is considered that music can help improve people’s mood and this may assist with pain management for some people.
The Brain Injury Group consider that “As a result of music processors being present all over the brain and despite the damaged area, musical neurons are used to gain access to the non-damaged parts. It can stimulate and develop new aspects such as walking or communicating, taking away the focus from learning directly. It allows the body and functions of the brain to respond to music and re-learn behaviours that were lost, helping individuals gain back control of their life.”
Music therapy could be used in conjunction with physiotherapy and may help a person’s ability to walk.
Whilst music therapy is not a conventional form of therapy it is proving to be useful and can work well in conjunction with speech and language therapy and physiotherapy for example.
Speech and language therapy (SLT) following a brain injury
I have been working on behalf of a Claimant who sustained a minor brain injury following a road traffic accident when he was under the age of 3. The incident itself was traumatic for the family. It was difficult for the parents to know how their child was developing following the accident and whether the trauma to the head had impacted on the child’s learning and development in par with children of his own age. This in itself is difficult to assess for any child as all children reach developmental milestones at differing times.
If a person suffers from a traumatic or acquired brain injury, this often does result in speech and language problems but also problems such as swallowing which will have an effect on eating and drinking which is something we often take for granted.
Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) has greatly helped my client. This has particularly helped with communication skills and has assisted in developing confidence especially at the early stages of schooling.
SLT can help with improving speech to make it clearer, assisting in expressions and improving attention spans and memory and to assist with social skills.
The Defendant representatives took a collaborative approach and agreed to engage in the rehabilitation code. A case manager was appointed and my client benefited from an early assessment for SLT.
For a child, their brain will continue to develop until they become an adult and a trauma to the head can cause a major impact on the child’s development.
SLT can provide a child with confidence to allow them to express themselves and to try and prevent frustrations. An initial assessment will always be necessary to consider each individuals needs so that a programme can be put in place. For my client SLT has assisted my client with constructing longer sentences and developing his usage of phonics. The Speech and Language Therapist has worked closely with my client’s school with those teachers that work with my client on a day to day basis.
The Child Brain Injury Trust is a charity which assists children and families who have been affected by a brain injury. They can provide a great source of support and have done so for my clients family. They have provided a useful guide on ‘Childhood Acquired Brain Injury: the Hidden disability’ which is a helpful read.