Irwin Mitchell’s dedicated Client Liaison team helped a young woman who suffered a brain injury and orthopaedic injuries in 2002 when she was 11 following a road traffic accident.
Our client, Rebecca, was a pedestrian crossing the road when she was hit by a car. Her family had contacted a solicitor post-accident but became despondent with the services offered and transferred to Irwin Mitchell 10 years later in 2012. The case was referred to client liaison manager (CLM) Maria Walker to sort out rehabilitation, as Rebecca had received no input from NHS services.
Rebecca was suffering from impaired understanding. She:
- felt “lost in her own body”
- could not remember her childhood
- was depressed – suicidal at times
- lacked concentration.
Her short and long term memory were poor and she couldn’t engage in multiple conversations. Rebecca’s IQ was below average and she suffered from agoraphobia and behavioural problems. She was sexually disinhibited, impatient and aggressive and she had been expelled from school at the age of 12 years for behavioural problems. She was obsessed with cleaning and bathing, and was partially sighted in her right eye. She had a history of involvement with unsuitable men that basically exploited and abused her and at the time of referral to CLM services, she was involved in a very controlling relationship with a man much older than her.
Struggling to keep on top of paperwork
Rebecca was supported by her mother but her parents were divorced and her mum couldn’t cope with Rebecca at home, hence Rebecca had taken a council flat when she was 16. She was struggling to manage her budgets and her reading age was 12 years, so she couldn’t keep on top of paperwork or respond to letters. The area was renowned for drug addicts and alcoholics so Rebecca would not go out alone. She had detached herself socially and allowed her boyfriend to move in because she was frightened, but the relationship was volatile.
Our CLM, Maria, arranged for a consultant psychiatrist and clinical psychologist to review Rebecca, but unfortunately they couldn’t offer her rehabilitation because she lived outside the post code area away from the hospital. Maria approached the director of housing in the area and the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) as a matter of priority and set up appointments and meetings to get Rebecca rehoused and to secure funding for rehabilitation. Whilst this was being negotiated, Rebecca fell pregnant and more difficulties occurred as her boyfriend left her.
Taught to manage her finances
Rebecca was awarded a two bedroom council house as a matter of urgency which was close to her mother’s home. With the help of the CLM, the house was decorated and furnished as Maria applied for a grant for Rebecca, who was able to move in before her baby was born. Maria also consulted with a local housing support group to assist Rebecca to set up direct debits and teach her to manage her finances. Maria had applied for benefits for Rebecca, liaising with the Department for Work and Pensions to speed up the process and additional benefits were awarded to Rebecca. The CLM helped Rebecca to sort out her banking and her overdraft was paid off.
Maria liaised with Rebecca’s General Practitioner to enable a midwife to be allocated to her on a one to one basis so that she would have a safe pregnancy and be monitored carefully. Maria attended anti-natal classes with Rebecca and arranged parent craft classes for her and referred her to Surestart so that she would have support with her baby in the community. Maria arranged to have child locks and safety equipment fitted in the home to protect Rebecca’s baby.
Referred to the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust
Maria referred Rebecca to the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust for an assessment after her baby was born and a suitable programme was arranged for her to attend on an outpatient basis. Funding was agreed by the CCG following liaison by Maria and Rebecca completed a 20 week intensive rehabilitation programme which included cognitive behavioural therapy. She learned how to cook and meal plan, manage her budgets, she continued with parent craft classes and she attended a Maths and English course at a local college.
She attended a nail course to learn how to apply acrylic nails in preparation for work in the future and plans were made to teach her to drive with a specialist disability instructor. Maria had arranged for her baby to attend a local nursery whilst Rebecca was in rehabilitation. Maria provided brain injury training for Rebecca’s mother and she taught Rebecca to use visual aids to recall verbal information and she taught Rebecca to diarise appointments and events.
Confident in the community
Following discharge from rehabilitation, Rebecca’s life has totally changed and she has learnt to manage her behaviours and develop a social network. She continues to attend college having reached GCSE level in Maths and English. Rebecca is confident in the community and she can go into a supermarket for her weekly shop which she could not do before. Rebecca is currently planning to take her son away on holiday and she has started to lead a normal life confidently.
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