Somek & Associates' Jessica Thurston, Head of Medico-legal Operations and...
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PhD, BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy, PGC Clinical Research, Full Member of Expert Witness Institute (MEWI)
I qualified as an occupational therapist in 2002, and I specialised in the field of adult physical disability and long term conditions. My clinical experience includes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiac and respiratory rehabilitation, chronic pain, fatigue, trauma and orthopaedics, addiction and dependency, gastroenterology and liver disease, care of the elderly and falls, acquired head injury, cognitive dysfunction, and general surgery (including stoma care).
I am skilled at assessing the client in relation to their physical, cognitive, and psychosocial functioning, as well as their environment and housing needs. I am competent in implementing a variety of treatment techniques including fatigue management, anxiety management, and education strategies, to minimise the effects of cognitive dysfunction. I have worked with both children and adults and their carers covering a breadth of functional disability and long term conditions.
In 2012 I became the first Occupational Therapist to graduate from Newcastle School of medicine with a PhD ‘Exploring the function of people with liver disease’ and became a British College of Occupational Therapy Merit Award winner for contribution to Occupational Therapy in 2013. I am published in international therapy and medical journals for my research in long term conditions, fatigue, cognition and functional abilities.
I have experience leading National priority projects for the National Institute of Health Research, strategising and implementing clinical research initiatives throughout local Clinical Research Networks, NHS Trusts and partner organisations. I continue to undertake work with the NHS and their academic partners.
I am an independent practitioner working with both children and adults. I frequently carry out assessments of clients who have suffered an injury or live with a long term condition and provide therapeutic interventions to clients in the community with complex physical and cognitive disabilities, and sensory needs.
I work with various charities providing functional assessment for their beneficiaries, advising equipment, adaptation, seating and electric powered vehicles.
I accept instruction 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.
2020: Ulster University: Post graduate certificate in Sensory Integration
2012: Newcastle School of Medicine: PhD
2011: Newcastle School of medicine: Post graduate certificate in Clinical Research
2002: University of Northumbria: BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy