The following article is a personal reflection on becoming an OT expert witness, by...
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BSc Occupational Therapy
Neurological Conditions including; Brain Injury, Stroke, Minimally Conscious
I qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 2005 and have gained experience in acute NHS physical and mental health settings. Since 2009 I have worked solely with adults with neurological conditions both acquired and progressive in acute, rehabilitation and community settings. This breadth and depth of experience has enabled me to acquire specialist knowledge and develop skills and competencies within the areas of upper limb rehabilitation, splinting, postural management and seating, cognition and behaviour, visual perceptual dysfunction and vocational rehabilitation.
My experience has enabled me to develop an understanding of the person’s journey from the acute hospital through to rehabilitation and back to the community which has meant I have been able to appreciate their trajectory and have an informed view of the impact of their condition on their ability to participate in activities, access to the community and ability to lead a meaningful life.
Working as a clinical specialist within a regional neurosciences centre and the largest major trauma centre in Europe has enabled me to see first hand the catastrophic nature of neurological trauma, in particular brain and spinal cord injuries and the devastating impact of this trauma upon the individual and their families. My role has involved working with those with severe and complex brain injuries from prolonged disorder of consciousness through to “walking wounded” both within the acute neurosurgical ward and in the neurorehabilitation unit.
As a clinical specialist within the level 1 neurorehabilitation unit, I led on complex assessments, interventions and discharges particularly for those with high cognitive behavioural needs and provided clinical expertise to the occupational therapy team and wider multidisciplinary team.
Currently I work within independent practice as a neurological occupational therapist for those with brain injuries. I provide community cognitive and vocational rehabilitation and as part of a research trial, I provide NHS vocational rehabilitation for adults with traumatic injuries. I work alongside all members of the multidisciplinary team including case managers, social workers, carers, physio and speech therapists, orthotists and with charities such as Headway.
I am committed to providing client centred evidence-based practice, advocacy, and support to help enable my clients to maximise their potential and lead a life that is meaningful and purposeful to them.
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.