Nicola Heaps, one of our nursing experts, appeared in court in July this year. The case related to...
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PG Dip Occupational Therapy, MSc Gerontology
I qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 1998, and have specialised within physical disability primarily working with adults and older people that have complex multi-pathology. This work requires both a breadth and depth of knowledge in a wide variety of clinical areas and has involved both acute and long term conditions which might include both physical and mental health diagnosis. I am a highly specialised therapist especially in determining complex equipment and care needs. I have a special interest in Dementia and Cognitive Impairment and in determining Capacity and Best Interest decisions.
I am currently working as a Senior Lecturer in Occupational Therapy, teaching at both undergraduate and post graduate levels on interdisciplinary programmes. Lecturing has further developed my knowledge in a wide breadth of topics including anatomy and physiology, occupational science theory which has been enhanced further by supporting student’s research projects at both undergraduate and post graduate levels.
Prior to lecturing, I spent the majority of my career working in a variety of acute hospital, physical inpatient and community settings. I have worked within Dementia care, Social Services, including Care Management/reablement as well as minor and major adaptations. I have designed bespoke solutions to meet individual client needs within Social Services, as well as within acute hospital settings as a Band 7 Clinical Specialist and then Band 8 Head OT in adult and older people services. Within these roles, I have been part of a special interest group developing services that support and safeguard vulnerable children and adults, worked within A and E, rapid assessment via direct GP referral, falls clinics, day hospital, and provided expert clinical knowledge and assessment Trust wide with complex discharge and case management which also included end of life care.
My MSc in Gerontology further enhances my knowledge base, especially in respect of critical incident reviews. Within these roles I have been involved in complaint management and have considerable experience in exploring both medical and case notes to determine the root cause of an incident or the identification of poor clinical practice.
As a newly qualified OT, I worked as a basic grade occupational therapist within Hounslow and Spelthorne Mental Health Trust within an assessment day hospital, assessing clients’ potential for rehabilitation and care needs for discharge back into the community from January 1999 until July 1999. I then returned to Wokingham Social Services in July 1999 as an occupational therapist care manager providing assessments for a variety of complex diagnosis. This involved the provision of both major and minor adaptations, assessing and organising complex care packages.
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.