Somek & Associates' Jessica Thurston, Head of Medico-legal Operations and...
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BSc (Hons) Nursing Studies, Dip Nursing, RMN, MA Managing Healthcare Organisations
I qualified as a Mental Health Nurse in 1985. Whilst in the NHS I gained many years of experience within mental health services including 3 years as the senior nurse on a specialist in-patient dementia assessment unit. The key purpose of this unit was to screen individuals for differential diagnoses; to carry out in-depth medical and nursing assessments to determine the specific type / types of dementia the person was suffering from, and to plan their treatment and future care including appropriate placement and support following discharge from the unit.
In addition to this experience I am also a qualified ‘person-centered dementia care’ trainer. In this role I teach other qualified health care professionals and carers to provide specialist dementia care through an approach, which emphasises the importance of understanding the whole person, not focusing only on the difficulties which a person may have.
Along with the clinical expertise I have in dementia care, I have also gained a significant amount of experience and knowledge from working in a range of health care organisations, these spanning both NHS provider and commissioning services, as well as the private sector as a nursing home manager and a practising nurse.
I retired from the NHS in 2011, after nearly 30 years, and now continue to practice as a nurse within the nursing home sector.
During my career I have led numerous investigations into the most serious incidents, which has included the deaths of patients; also being responsible for writing investigation reports into such incidents for presentation to the relatives concerned, HM Coroners, Solicitors, NHS Trust Boards and to be made available for public scrutiny. In addition, I have been called as a witness in Coroners Courts on a number of occasions. In 2019 I was closely involved in successfully campaigning against the closure of a mental health inpatient facility in my local area, and was interviewed regarding this by the BBC’s Sunday Politics Show.
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.