Appropriate rehabilitation therapy following a serious spinal injury is essential if the injured party is to make as full a recovery as possible. Unfortunately, the NHS is not always able to provide the most comprehensive rehabilitative treatments necessary to ensure this.
By making a claim for spinal injury compensation claimants can secure sums to provide for certain private treatments not currently available on the NHS. Below Thompsons Solicitors Scotland takes a look at some of the issues at stake.
Rehabilitation – Early intervention, long-term benefit
Securing the best possible rehabilitation from an early stage is likely to have long-term benefit for an individual's level of independence and life quality post injury.
Examples of the kinds of treatments you can secure through a spinal injury compensation settlement may include the following:
- Physiotherapy: Privately-funded spinal injury physiotherapy rehabilitation treatments include balance, strength, mobilisation and stretching programmes, alongside breathing work, postural and gait re-education, sensory stimulation, and wheelchair-specific physiotherapy assistance. A compensation claim can help spinal injury patients access dedicated physiotherapy services more quickly and may result in additional time, resources and expertise being made available.
- Speech and swallowing rehabilitation: It is common for individuals with spinal injury to experience difficulties speaking and swallowing. Dedicated speech and swallowing rehab can assist in the rehabilitation of these functions.
- Neurogenic bowel and bladder management: Spinal cord injury can have a significant impact on bowel and bladder function and this can have serious implications for independence, quality of life, and reintegration into the community. An individualised approach to bowel and bladder management during rehabilitation is extremely important for long term benefits.
- Functional assessment: Expert help assessing function in the home environment to assist with the provision of further rehabilitation and specialist equipment. Can include exploration of treatments and therapies unavailable on the NHS.
- Spasticity management: Muscle spasticity can occur following spinal cord damage as messages from the brain relating to muscle contraction and relaxation become imbalanced. This results in increased stiffness of the muscles, making movement difficult and loss of range of movement. Therapies that can help include FES, injection therapy, orthotics, physiotherapy and various other treatments depending on the symptoms.
- Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES): This treatment involves small electrical charges being applied to the muscle/muscles affected by paralysis or weakness, stimulating the muscle to make its usual movement.
- Injection therapies: Facet injections, nerve root blocks and epidurals are all pain management and treatment therapies suitable for spinal injury patients. Injection therapy is less invasive than surgery and can be used to alleviate pain and as an alternative to open surgery.
- ?Orthotics: An orthotist can assist the rehabilitation process by designing and fitting orthotic footwear to reduce foot drop and aid walking for ambulant spine injury patients.
- Occupational Therapy: To develop ways to manage daily living skills such as feeding and drinking, dressing, washing and housekeeping. Occupational therapists can help to identify specialist equipment and systems that might enable greater independence for the patient alongside identification of long-term rehabilitation goals such as returning to employment. The occupational therapy team will play a role in any assessment for equipment needs and home adaptations.
- Community skills: Help managing and rehabilitating the claimant's reintegration into the community.
The above list is by no means exhaustive and the treatment and rehabilitation of each spinal injury patient will depend on their individual circumstances.
Psychological and mentor support
It is easy to forget that psychological support can sometimes be just as important as physical support. As such, Thompsons Solicitors works to ensure that when appropriate claimants receive sums for psychological rehabilitation such as psychotherapy, counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy and psychiatry.
Furthermore, in some cases, the claimant may benefit from mentorship from someone who has been through a similar experience, who is able to share their experience of coping while also helping to develop a positive mindset.
Interim payments for early intervention
Whenever possible, Thompsons' spinal injury compensation solicitors in Scotland will take steps to secure interim payments to ensure that the claimant is able to speed up the rehabilitation process. This can be invaluable to ensure early intervention and to enable the best possible recovery outcomes.
The role of the case manager
A case manager can greatly assist the rehabilitation process by collaborating with claimants and their families as well as with medical and rehabilitation staff to coordinate care and therapy needs so that the pathway to hospital discharge and ongoing therapy can be as smooth as possible.
Unfortunately, not every location in Scotland is able to cater to the rehabilitation and treatment needs of individuals who have sustained serious spinal injuries. If you live in an area that does not have adequate provision for your best possible rehabilitation care, it may be necessary to go further afield.
A spinal injury case manager can co-ordinate your rehabilitation plan and ensure that you are able to receive a satisfactory level of care from a private provider in a location that is as convenient for you and your family as possible. We can be by your side to ensure that your claim for spinal injury compensation takes into complete consideration your full needs.
Spinal Injury Compensation Solicitors in Scotland
Thompsons' team of serious injury solicitors can help you secure compensation for pain, suffering, rehabilitation, specialist equipment, lost earnings and more.
Where possible we also seek to secure interim payment to enable you and your family to get on with your lives without any unnecessary concerns about money.
We understand the many difficulties and challenges faced by spinal injury and spinal cord injury sufferers and we are committed to helping you achieve the best possible rehabilitation. Contact us today for more information about claiming spinal injury compensation in Scotland.