Somek & Associates' Jessica Thurston, Head of Medico-legal Operations and...
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MRes Communication Disorders, BSc (Hons) Speech Sciences, Full Member of Expert Witness Institute (MEWI)
I qualified as a speech and language therapist (SLT) in 2003 from University College London and have spent my career specialising in neurological rehabilitation. I have gained significant experience assessing and managing adolescents and adults with complex communication and swallowing difficulties as a result of acquired or traumatic brain injury, cerebrovascular accident, complex neurological conditions, and mental health difficulties.
I have specialist clinical knowledge for formal and informal assessment of speech, language, and swallowing disorders, and am skilled in the subsequent development and delivery of therapy management plans which may be impairment, activity or participation based. I have experience of working in NHS and private healthcare in a variety of settings including acute hospitals, nursing homes, stroke rehabilitation units, outpatient & community services, and within a specialist brain injury inpatient neurorehabilitation centre and a secure challenging behaviour unit for patients sectioned under the mental health act. I have worked with clients who have presented with a range of functioning - from those with severe global language and cognitive difficulties to those returning to their vocation or education, forming effective therapeutic relationships. This has included working closely with family, carers, support workers, educational staff and independent therapists.
Currently, I am a partner at Arbor Neurorehabilitation Services where I work full time in independent practice. Within this Bristol-based community team, I am the clinical lead speech and language therapist and provide highly specialist assessment, intervention, and management of older children, adolescents and adults with acquired speech, language, communication, and swallowing difficulties secondary to acquired and traumatic brain injuries. I am actively involved in regular CPD and provide clinical supervision to junior therapists. I am the chair of the South West Brain Injury Clinical Excellence Network, and organise two specialist study days a year as well as online events for SLTs working with adults with brain injury in the South West.
I am a visiting lecturer at Plymouth Marjon University for the undergraduate SLT course, lecturing around topics related to speech and language therapy within neurorehabilitation for adults with brain injury. I have undertaken the role of clinical educator for students on placement from this university and provide regular clinical supervision for junior speech and language therapists. I am a member of the International Association of Communication Sciences and Disorders and provide mentorship to SLTs working in developing countries via the Aphasia Mentoring Project. Furthermore, I am the chair of the South West Brain Injury Clinical Excellence Network and regularly organise CPD events.
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 Procedure Rules (CPR) pertaining to Expert Witnesses.