Recovery prospects of brain injured patients jeopardised by chronic lack of resources
28 January 2020
Majority of solicitors say there are a lack of suitably qualified brain injury case managers in the UK
The recovery prospects of brain injured patients are being jeopardised by a chronic lack of resources - while the majority of solicitors say there are not enough suitably qualified brain injury case managers in the UK.
The research, by brain injury rehabilitation charity Calvert Reconnections and barristers Exchange Chambers, examines the effectiveness of the brain injury recovery process through a series of in-depth interviews with the country’s most senior brain injury lawyers.
164 brain injury solicitors took part in the 8-week study with 71% saying that the NHS is unable to provide effective support for brain injured patients. 97% believe there are a lack of residential-based brain injury rehabilitation units in the UK.
Referring to the lack of faith in NHS brain injury care, Bill Braithwaite QC, expert advisor to Calvert Reconnections and Head of Exchange Chambers said:
“I’m not at all surprised. Acute care is often very good but subsequent rehabilitation can be hit and miss, doubtless because of shortage of money. That is why the private and charitable sectors are so important.”
The research addresses a number of points in relation to case managers, with 61% of solicitors saying that there are not enough suitably qualified brain injury case managers in the UK.
“This is surprising because it has been a growing profession since it started in the UK in the 1990s,” said Bill Braithwaite QC.
“However, perhaps it is the suitably qualified phrase that is the stumbling block. Sometimes it seems as though people put themselves forward when they do not have the training or experience for the job.”
In other case manager findings:
- 37% of solicitors say they regularly disagree with the other side on the most appropriate case manager.
- In the majority (70%) of cases, insurers, defence solicitors and insurers talk to each other before instructing a case manager.
- The majority (66%) of solicitors say case managers work closely with treating professionals, family members and third parties.
- The majority (70%) of solicitors believe case managers set specific rehabilitation goals.
- The majority (80%) of case managers only accept instructions within their field of expertise.
The report found that patients’ recovery from brain injury is often delayed by lack of cooperation amongst lawyers.
In brain injury cases over the last 12 months, 68% of lawyers have been unable reach agreement with the other side on the injured person’s basic rehabilitation needs, therefore stalling the recovery process.
Added Bill Braithwaite QC:
“This research suggests that in many cases, lawyers often cannot agree on the most obvious recommendations as a starting point.
“Delay is hugely damaging to anyone who has suffered a brain injury. Sensible dialogue on both sides would improve the problem as rehabilitation will only work at its best if both sides enter into it voluntarily.”
The report also points to the positive role outdoor activities can play in brain injury rehabilitation. Walking is viewed as the most effective activity, followed by fishing, gardening, horse riding, cycling, water sports and orienteering.
Continued Bill Braithwaite QC:
“There is considerable medical support for the notion that outdoor activity is helpful in brain injury rehabilitation. The challenge moving forward is to incorporate outdoor activities into rehabilitation plans wherever appropriate.”
Calvert Reconnections is the UK’s first intensive acquired brain injury (ABI) rehabilitation centre combining traditional interdisciplinary clinical therapies with physical activity in the outdoors. The centre opens in early 2020.
Rehabilitation Survey Results
Visit the Calvert Reconnections website at https://www.calvertreconnections.org.uk/
and follow on twitter @CalvertReconne1