Nicola Heaps, one of our nursing experts, appeared in court in July this year. The case related to...
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After qualifying as an occupational therapist from Oxford Brookes University in 2005, I have worked primarily in physical disability and neurological rehabilitation. My initial experience was in a private rehabilitation unit for adults with acquired brain injury where I developed my skills in physical, cognitive and behavioural rehabilitation.
Working for the NHS as an occupational therapist for the past 11 years, I have held posts in both acute (including A&E) and community settings (including rapid response). These roles have allowed me to gain significant clinical experience working with people post surgery (elective and trauma orthopaedic, cardiac and amputations), people who have experienced life changing injuries such as spinal cord injury and those with long term conditions. I do also have experience of working with people with both organic and functional mental health diagnoses.
My most recent NHS post was as a clinical advisor providing county wide support to case-holding clinicians in the management of complex cases. This particular role required me to provide sound expert advice at the first point of contact, often in difficult or challenging situations. It also involved frequently completing joint visits to assess the patient and provide advice to therapy and nursing staff regarding issues such as provision of standard and bespoke equipment, moving and handling, pressure care management and safeguarding.
In addition to my NHS roles, I have worked as a specialist neurological occupational therapist for a private neurological rehabilitation provider.
From 2010 to 2012, I also worked as a private carer at weekends supporting people in their own homes providing personal and domestic care. Working for 2 individuals with complex long term conditions (Multiple Sclerosis and Cerebral Palsy) allowing me to gain insight into the real life situations of people requiring long term care and the stresses on their families and other carers.
In addition to my special interest in neurological rehabilitation, I have developed specialist skills in the areas of pressure ulcer prevention and management, moving and handling, management of the plus size person and palliative care.
I now work as an independent occupational therapist and trainer.
I also undertake medico-legal work for Somek and Associates. 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 the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) pertaining to Expert Witnesses.
BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy, Oxford Brookes University 2005