August marks National Road Victim Month, held annually to remember people killed or injured on the roads and to bring awareness to road safety.
It’s also an opportunity to highlight the importance of securing rehabilitation, care and support packages which meet an individual’s needs for those with complex injuries resulting from a road traffic accident. For example, sometimes a road traffic accident may result in an acquired brain injury or spinal injury.
Rehabilitation after a road accident
In any case of acquired brain injury, rehabilitation is essential.
Rehabilitation aims to help the brain learn alternative ways of working in order to minimise the long-term impact of a brain injury. The length of time it may take for an individual to be optimised and reach their rehabilitation potential after brain injury is unpredictable. Every brain injury and every individual is unique.
Guidance suggests that often it may take 6 months to a year after the accident before it is possible to gain a clearer picture of what the individual’s future may look like.
Decisions regarding what future care and support the individual may need should ideally be deferred until a package of rehabilitation therapy has been received.
Choosing which rehabilitation placement is the most appropriate to meet assessed needs should involve the individual’s family, carer(s), Attorneys, Deputies, and the clinical team. Sometimes this may be referred to as a best interests decision.
An effective rehabilitation placement should result in a clearer identification of what the individual needs in terms of future rehabilitation, care and support. It should provide a benchmark to work from to ensure a package is put together which is commensurate with the individual’s care needs and which ultimately seek to maximise any further rehabilitation potential which has been identified.
How is rehabilitation funded?
Rehabilitation, care and support packages may be funded by the NHS through NHS Continuing Healthcare, a Local Authority (which is likely to be subject to means testing) or by both an NHS and a Local Authority, through a jointly-funded package of care. Understanding and securing statutory funding can be both a daunting and challenging process. At Lester Aldridge, we have a number of freely accessible information sheets available our website, which explain different means of statutory funding such as NHS Continuing Healthcare in more detail.
In cases where it is possible to pursue a personal injury claim following a road accident, it may be possible to secure interim funding from the defendant to privately fund the cost of rehabilitation, without the need to rely upon statutory funding from public bodies.
If you, or a loved one, has been affected by the issues raised in this blog, please contact James Pantling-Skeet.