Congratulations to Jessica Thurston, Somek & Associates' Chief Operating Officer and...
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PG Dip, DipCOT
I qualified in 1983 as an Occupational Therapist. I have since worked continuously for the NHS or Local Authorities and have gained extensive experience having worked in a variety of clinical fields and settings. Following a basic grade rotational post in a general hospital where I gained a foundation in medical and surgical conditions and care of older people, I specialised in severe learning disabilities/ multiple disabilities for 10 years. During this time I provided a comprehensive service to children and adults with multiple needs and established new Learning Disabilities Occupational Therapy services.
Since 1993, I have specialised in working with Adults and Older People in the community with complex physical or multiple disabilities. My caseloads have included people with long term conditions including neurological, respiratory, medical and surgical conditions. I have considerable experience in assessing for and recommending the optimum major adaptations to the home to suit the needs of the user and their family. Specialist equipment provision is an area of my expertise and I am able to assess for and provide advice on a broad range including seating, postural management, beds, plus size equipment, hoisting and slings.
Since 1995 I have worked for the Royal Borough of Greenwich and have developed the specialist practitioner role of Moving and Handling Advisor since 2004. I advise professionals working for the community and acute health care trusts in Greenwich as well as the local authority. I carry a caseload of people with severe and or progressive medical conditions that also have complex, challenging or controversial moving and handling issues, working closely with the families and carers to identify successful care at home and maximising safety and independence. All super plus size service users (‘bariatrics’) in the borough are on my caseload. I have been involved in many Safeguarding and staff disciplinary investigations and have been an informal ‘expert witness’ providing specialist knowledge and evidence in moving and handling or poor postural management incidents. Increasingly I am approached to provide advice for people that lack capacity and to make Best Interest decisions on their behalf.
I have developed and managed four projects to endorse skilful and dignified domiciliary care packages and have recommended and reviewed many packages of care in the community. This area of work is commonly referred to as 'single handed care' and the reduction of care packages. Consequently I can accurately identify the resources in time, cost and skill level required to assist people in specific activities. I provide specialist and bespoke moving and handling training for different groups of staff in the borough and monitor quality of training in residential homes and care agencies. In 2007 I completed a post graduate diploma in Back Care Management at Loughborough University. This consolidated my knowledge of moving and handling and back care, reinforcing the theory and evidence base for my area of expertise.
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.
2007 Post Graduate diploma in Back Care Management, Loughborough University
1983 Diploma College of Occupational Therapists, London School of Occupational Therapy, (now Brunel University)