Nicola Heaps, one of our nursing experts, appeared in court in July this year. The case related to...
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MSc Advanced Occupational Therapy, DipCOT
I qualified as an Occupational Therapist at Oxford in 1985. Since then I have worked continuously in the NHS in both mental health and physical fields; with my predominant clinical interest being in mental health before taking on a specialist role in assessing and treating adults with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalopathy (CFS/ME) since 2006.
I am currently employed by the Kent & Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust and work as part of the Kent & Medway CFS/ME Service. I provide specialist assessments and interventions to people across the spectrum from mild symptoms (e.g. managing to work full-time, but needing to sleep during the evenings and weekends) to people with severe symptoms who are bed-bound and need help with all activities of daily living. Fibromyalgia, chronic pain and depression are often significant features. The interventions used are those recommended by the NICE guidelines (CG53).
My clinical role focuses on activity management, lifestyle changes and emotional adjustment, with a view to improving function and quality of life, often with the aim of helping clients to return to some form of employment. However, should clients not be able to make any significant recovery, advice and guidance is given around how to adapt to the condition whilst still maintaining as much independence as possible. I often work with other family members so that they are involved in the assessment and intervention process.
I pride myself on my report writing, which is also an essential part of my role. I have been given positive feedback on the style of my formal writing.
I am a member of a CFS/ME Occupational Therapists’ group which meets quarterly at The Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) in London, to discuss clinical updates and offer peer support and supervision. The CFS/ME Service for which I work has been involved in a recently published research project, in which I took an active role, that was facilitated by St Bart’s Hospital, London. This was with regard to the use of Graded Exercise Therapy for CFS/ME. For the past two years I have been part of a group of occupational therapists working with the RCOT to establish a special interest group for occupational therapists working in chronic pain.
I sat on the RCOT's Professional Practice Board from 2007 to 2012 and on the Scottish RCOT Board as the Northern regional member 2004 to 2006. I gained a Diploma in Counselling in 1993 and an MSc in Advanced Occupational Therapy in 2013.
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.