Friday, 6 March 2015

Thompsons: Client Support Coordinators: a person-centred approach to serious injuries

Jacquie Owen, Thompsons Solicitors

At Thompsons, we have a long and proud tradition of working for seriously injured and disabled adults and children to secure the best possible outcomes for them after their injury.

The team of expert serious injury solicitors – who specialise in spinal cord and brain injuries, amputations and multiple injury claims – make sure Thompsons’ clients secure the best possible financial settlement for their life-changing injuries.

Person-centred approach

New clients are usually going through a very traumatic time when they contact Thompsons Solicitors for legal advice. Clients and their families are often still in the early stages of coming to terms with a serious injury or disability. This is why it is so important that they receive our expert help as soon as possible.

In addition to gathering information about the way in which the client was injured, the solicitor from Thompsons will work quickly and closely with the injured person and their family to understand the level of financial assistance they need to help with ongoing care, rehabilitation and future support. Our person-centred approach makes sure that our clients are an active part of the decision-making process. Rather than being a passive bystander with others making decisions on their behalf, wherever possible we enable our clients to be an active participant, supporting them with the knowledge and skills they need.

More than just a legal service

With us, a legal case is not just about compensation. And that is where I come in, as one of the dedicated client support coordinators.  I am a qualified nurse specialising in rehabilitation, and I teach medical students the long term effects of living with an SCI. The work of a client support coordinator brings a very different kind of value to the service Thompsons provides.  

As a client support coordinator, I’ll meet with the injured person as soon as possible to holistically assess their situation using a model that takes into consideration their physical, psychological and social needs.  I’ll go through the current level of support they are receiving from the NHS with them and, if the type of support they need isn’t available from the NHS, provide the client’s solicitor with the information they’ll need to secure an interim payment to access funds to pay for the right treatment and support.

That treatment and support could come from a variety of sources including allied healthcare professionals such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists or psychologists who can together provide additional support and training to help injured people manage their changed circumstances.

On the cutting edge

Every day I work with clients to provide pre-case management advice and support, arranging extra healthcare services, contacting therapists and researching the costs of clinical treatments, supporting with applications for welfare benefits. We have a wealth of previous experience in health and social care fields - and we seek out the latest training and assessment tools, and work with national organisations such as Spinal Injuries Association, Aspire, BackUp and the Multidisciplinary Association of Spinal Cord Injury professionals, to make sure we stay at the cutting edge of our field.

Setting high goals

I support my clients in a number of different ways. Typically, assessing their needs means focusing on the nature of the disability and the impact this has – and is likely to have - on their day-to-day life now and in the future. Based on a client’s age and previous experience, I consider questions such as “what should they be able to do?” and “what can they actually do now?” I also examine what a client wants to do in their life – being mindful that they may have been seriously injured in their prime - and how they want to go about it, always offering realistic solutions for how this gap can be bridged.

This person-centred approach encourages the team supporting the client to all think beyond what is merely practical and seeks to understand what our clients’ best case scenario would be. The target that emerges is often far more aspirational than a one dimensional compensation focussed approach would yield and can produce inspirational results.

I’m proud to say that my work greatly boosts our clients’ chances of returning to a good quality of life, living with self-esteem and with confidence in their future, maximum job opportunities and minimal dependence on the benefits system.

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