FINANCE & LEGAL United Support

Claire Salisbury, Rehabilitation Coordinator at Moore Blatch LLP, discusses the importance of medical and legal professionals working together to support victims with acquired brain injuries.

Surgeons, hospital staff nurses, neuro physiotherapists, ABI advisors, carers, families, lawyers… The list of people who support an individual with acquired brain injury is innumerable, and the importance for them all to work smoothly in conjunction with each other during what is a traumatic time for victims and their families cannot be overstated.

However, in the current health and social care environment, NHS waiting times oſten mean that, following a major trauma, patients will be discharged from hospital for 8-12 weeks before being able to access the long-term therapy they require. Similarly, the length of time it can take to secure compensation for a major trauma victim’s rehabilitation, such as through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, can do little to speed up the situation. As we all know, these gaps in care can lead to far-ranging challenges – from miscommunication between clinicians to carer duties being placed on families.

In response to these issues, I have seen both medical professionals and lawyers constantly going above and beyond to support patients and their families who are oſten having to make difficult decisions in the most devastating of circumstances. Whilst there is oſten a misconception and lack of understanding around how the legal and health sectors can work together, I learnt early on in my career that the overall objective of lawyers and medical professionals who deal with individuals with acquired brain injury are the same – securing the best outcomes for the victim.

From my experience, medical professionals regularly think of clinical negligence claims when they consider a lawyer’s role in health and social care, and I understand the caution that results. However, in the case of major trauma victims this thought is incorrect and in fact, there are a lot of benefits for patients when their legal and medical teams work closely together.

“There are a lot of benefits

for patients when their legal and medical teams work closely together.”

Aſter 14 years of working at St George’s Hospital in London, I recently joined national law firm Moore Blatch in the role of Rehabilitation Coordinator. As a medical professional working in a law firm, I can now see how vital a uniformed approach is and how much easier accessing funding to support victims is when case managers and clinicians are open to working with us. Over 73% of our clients are in rehab, which gives our lawyers a deep understanding of healthcare pathways, rehabilitation and a focus on improving health outcomes. When medical professionals are engaged and open to working with us, we can support their work in a number of areas including encouraging information sharing between clinicians and liaising with case managers to ensure rehab and therapy assessments are fit for purpose.

At Moore Blatch, we are keen to ensure all victims get the support they require and we are also campaigning to get rehab pots created by the government, which would provide intermediary funding for victims of serious acquired brain injury whilst legal processes are on-going. This type of activity, led by lawyers across the UK every day, looks to limit the challenges which gaps in care can create and helps to provide a more joined-up and comprehensive rehab pathway for victims.

Whilst anxieties around medical and legal professionals working closely together are understandable, the benefits for major trauma victims when these two providers of support align is unbeatable. Medical and legal professionals working together for victims with acquired brain injuries really does provide the best health outcomes for clients. - 32 -

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