Somek & Associates' Jessica Thurston, Head of Medico-legal Operations and...
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BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy, DipCOT, Full Member of Expert Witness Institute (MEWI)
I qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 1990. During my career I have worked mainly in the NHS in a variety of acute hospital, rehabilitation and community settings. Since 2015 I have also worked in the private sector.
I have expertise in working with clients who have a wide range of acute and longer term physical conditions including a variety of musculoskeletal, medical and surgical conditions. My experience includes working with clients with progressive and life-limiting conditions. I have expertise in working with older people with complex presentations due to multiple conditions. I am experienced in carrying out assessments to identify rehabilitation, care and equipment needs whether in planning for hospital discharge, or in community based assessment. My experience includes working with individuals to enable them to adapt to life changing circumstances resulting from injury, illness or the effects of ageing that may result in functional deficits in mobility, personal care tasks such as the need to manage a stoma, bladder or bowel management system or difficulties with domestic, employment or leisure tasks.
In my current NHS role, I work three days a week in the Occupational Therapy Hand Clinic service. Conditions commonly referred include a range of inflammatory or rheumatological conditions, general musculoskeletal hand issues, post-operative and post- trauma rehabilitation. I am a member of the British Association of Hand Therapists (BAHT) and completed the BAHT Level 1 course in May 2017. I am currently working to complete Level II accreditation. I regularly access on-line or work-based training sessions and carry out self-directed study relevant to my clinical role.
Within my private sector roles I provide assessments and rehabilitation for clients with a variety of needs. I am involved in work for local authorities, charities and individual clients, carrying out assessments for equipment and minor adaptations to clients' homes, hand therapy and general rehabilitation programmes. During the Covid19 situation I have had the opportunity to refresh my skills with in-patient assessment and discharge planning through being redeployed to a community hospital ward based role. I also increased my skills in use of remote assessment methodologies and explored options to deliver treatment and rehabilitation programmes remotely.
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 Procedures Rules (CPR) pertaining to Expert Witnesses.