Somek & Associates' Jessica Thurston, Head of Medico-legal Operations and...
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BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy, PG Dip Professional Health & Social Care (Housing)
I qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 2009 and have since specialised in the field of adult physical disability. My clinical experience includes dementia, visual impairment, chronic respiratory conditions, chronic cardiac conditions, rheumatology, trauma and orthopaedics, cancer, diabetes and various neurological conditions.
I began working as an independent occupational therapist in 2016, and I have gained significant experience in social care assessment, advising various local authorities on the implementation of care packages for clients living in the community.
My independent practice has given me the opportunity to support clients following traumatic injuries including orthopaedic injuries and traumatic brain injuries. I use goal setting to enable my clients to be as independent as possible and I work closely with clients, carers and family members to offer my expertise and deliver the best possible outcome.
I work in specialist rehabilitation, receiving instructions from case managers, solicitors and insurers, to assess and deliver rehabilitation to individuals who have suffered catastrophic and severe injuries. Following thorough assessment, I make recommendations to address physical, cognitive and emotional symptoms to maximise independence and safety.
The majority of my experience in working with clients with sensory loss was during my work within adult social care, under The Care Act. I worked in a locality team, which included working alongside Rehabilitation Assistants specialising in vision loss. Although the Rehab Officers did the majority of the face-to-face rehab work, I was responsible for assessing client needs and recommending rehabilitation, compensatory strategies (including provision of equipment or learning of modified techniques to improve independence), and on some occasions, care and support.
I also have experience in completing housing adaptations for people with sight loss, including, working for a large Housing Association who were modernising 33 sheltered accommodation facilities. My role was to ensure the properties were as inclusive as possible, from an access perspective – this also involved recommending changes to the plans for those with sight loss.
I accept instructions from both claimant and defendant solicitors and insurers. I have undergone formal training in the medico-legal process and am fully aware of my responsibilities under Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) pertaining to expert witnesses.