However access to such units can be largely dependant on your location within the UK. It is therefore important that you seek legal advice from an experienced personal injury solicitor as soon as possible to ensure that, if a legal claim can be made, access is provided to these services or similar services privately.

At Thompsons Solicitors we will work with existing specialist spinal injury experts and the NHS to ensure that your ongoing care and treatment is as continuous and straightforward as possible.

It is important at this most difficult of times that you are able to gain access to the right kind of help and advice. Indeed rehabilitation is an important part of the recovery process and therefore you need to gain access to appropriate rehabilitation as soon as possible.

Rehabilitation following a spinal cord injury can take many forms however this could include input from a number of specialists. You are likely to come into contact with a number of specialists, both during your time in hospital and when you return home, including:

Nurses

Nurses are trained in all aspects of general health care and will usually be on hand to assist with dressing, washing, feeding and toileting. A hospital ward will be run by a sister or charge nurse, accompanied by a staff nurse and nursing assistants. Usually you will have access to specialist spinal injury nurses who have many years of experience in caring for persons who have sustained a spinal cord injury.

Doctors

A consultant will normally co-ordinate the day-to-day medical care, carrying out examinations and prescribing medication while you are in hospital. The consultant will be the head of a medical team and will be assisted by junior medical staff such as registrars and house officers, who will normally spend more time on the ward than the consultant.

Neurosurgeon / Spinal Surgeons

A neurosurgeon or spinal surgeon is a specialist surgeon who undertakes operations for a wide range of conditions affecting the central nervous system including the brain, spinal cord and nerves. A neurosurgeon will often deal with any initial life saving or other surgery. As well as spending time in the operating theatre a neurosurgeon will also be involved attending the hospital ward both before and after any surgery. The neurosurgeon or spinal surgeon will normally assess the level of any spinal cord injury you may have.

Urologists / Gastroenterologists

A urologist / gastroenterologist is a medically trained surgeon who will normally assess any damage to the bladder or bowel function and look at ways to assist with any continence issues and problems with sexual function.

Physiotherapists

The physiotherapist aims to help you return to the best level of function possible and/or develop your skills to use an adapted wheelchair. The aims of physiotherapy treatment will differ in relation to the level of your spinal cord injury. Physiotherapy can help you reach and maintain your maximum physical potential and help in the management of other aspects of your condition. The physiotherapist will set exercises and activities for improving your physical ability. Advice and recommendations will also be given on suitable walking aids, home adaptations and equipment.

Occupational Therapists

Occupational therapist’s or OT’s will look at making adaptations to your home, provide aids and equipment and/or help you to develop strategies in order for you to carry out the activities you need and want to do such as dressing, cooking, and housework. This will be with the goal of helping you to develop your own independence in carrying out everyday tasks.

Social Workers

Social workers can often be attached to a spinal injuries unit or employed by the local authority. They will be skilled in helping you and your family or carers receive the practical information and support acting as an advocate and a guide for you. They can provide information about welfare benefits, accommodation and transport. Their role will typically involve undertaking a social care assessment and organising and managing packages of care and support.

Long Term Support

Depending on the severity of the spinal cord injury you may require long-term support for either part of or throughout your life.

The local authority may well provide some care and support to you and your family or any carers. However funding may be available through your personal injury claim.

The aim of this support is to enable you and your family to live as independently as possible. The level of support will be assessed carefully to try and reflect your long-term needs.

A rehabilitation package will often include those specialists mentioned above, together with the following individuals:

Case Managers

Case managers will plan and co-ordinate any rehabilitation, care and support that you may need and your integration back into the community. Normally a case manager will be funded privately out of a personal injury claim. However occasionally the term “case manager” can be used to describe someone fulfilling a similar role within the public sector. A spinal cord injury case manager will usually be a member of an organisation such as Case Management Services UK www.cmsuk.org.

Support Workers

Support workers or “enablers” will usually be employed to give you the support that you need in your home and in the community. This can include providing personal care as well as assisting with prompting or assisting you to organise things for yourself. They will usually be managed by a case manager if provided privately through a personal injury claim. Support workers can also in some instances be employed through the NHS, local authority or privately.

Job Coaches

Job coaches will help you look at ways of either returning back to your current employment, or provide training to allow you to work in a new area.

These individuals will try and help you to come to terms with your injury and provide you with help and support that you need in order to lead a fulfilling and independent life.

Our aim at Thompsons Solicitors is to make sure that you achieve the best possible outcome following your injury.