We were delighted to receive this timely article. The repercussions of COVID-19 and lockdown look set to linger so this advice, on behalf of Hudgell Solicitors and rehab provider, Bush and Co., will stand for a long while to come.
Recovering from serious injury in lockdown? Advice from the experts
Lockdown has proved difficult for all as we’ve been prevented from getting out and about, doing the things we enjoy and seeing the people we love.
For many of us, staying at home is thankfully an inconvenience and not something which has a serious impact on our physical or mental health.
Yet for others, lockdown has come at a particularly difficult time – especially those recovering from life-changing injuries such as amputation, and are doing all they can to make the best possible recovery.
Here, we speak to two specialists in supporting the seriously injured on what impact lockdown may have, and how people can come through it.
- Matthew Bushell is a clinical case manager with *Bush & Co, a UK-leading specialist national rehabilitation coordinator for those who suffer catastrophic and life-changing injuries. Its specialists work with leading personal injury solicitors and insurers to ensure a complete package of physical, psychological and emotional support is provided to those who suffer the loss of a limb.
- Amanda Stevens is chief executive of *Hudgell Solicitors, a long-established specialist personal injury legal firm with a track record of helping those who suffer life-changing, catastrophic injuries, securing damages settlements which include complete packages of physical and financial support.
These can be difficult days for people in rehabilitation after limb loss. What coping strategies can help amputees during lockdown?
Matthew: I always say one of the most important aspects in any rehabilitation, particularly for amputees, is to talk to others who have either been through similar, or who are experiencing the same issues now.
That is something that people can still do despite the current lockdown and talking is so essential.
Key support services are continuing and I’d encourage people to find those close to them.
For those being supported through a legal claim for injury, they will still have a team of support professionals who are able to video call and speak to them face to face. And; in cases where pain or the need for prosthetic modification is an issue that warrants direct input, clients are continuing to be seen by their key professionals – with the relevant precautions in place.
Do you have any tips to adapting to rehabilitation at home?
Amanda: Yes, continue to make use of any support services available to you and don’t feel that you have to try and deal with things alone at this time.
From our work helping people with many serious injuries, from brain and spinal injury to amputation, we know that community groups have such a positive impact, and they are doing all they can to support people at this time.
We are very proud to have close links with *The Limbless Association, which supports all amputees and remains dedicated through lockdown to ensuring no amputee need cope alone. We have been working to help promote the vital service they provide.
The charity is continuing to offer support by conducting triage calls, hosting virtual speaking Hubs and even holding web sessions including Yoga classes.
It will also arrange video conference calls between amputees looking to speak to one another, and with members of its Volunteer Visitor Network, which usually sees people visit face to face, but at present is doing it via calls.
How can people stay on track with limb loss rehabilitation during lockdown?
Matthew: This is down to both the individual and the rehabilitation coordinator. When we are instructed to oversee the rehabilitation of seriously injured people, as we often are by specialist firms such as Hudgell Solicitors, it is our role to ensure they have all the physical and psychological support they need.
Of course, at this time, like in the early days after amputation, psychological support may be the priority and the rehabilitation provider and solicitors should be identifying that and acting accordingly.
Individuals can of course help themselves by ensuring they are not isolated.
Thankfully, as part of the rehab process, most people we support become more social over time.
They have a full team of people who they see regularly, they go to physio sessions and we certainly encourage people to join the community support groups Amanda refers to where they can speak to other amputees. Those social networks are especially crucial at times like this.
How can legal support by of help to people who have suffered limb loss during lockdown
Amanda: When we are supporting people through rehabilitation as part of a personal injury damages claim at Hudgell Solicitors we pride ourselves on always being available to our clients and looking out for their best interests.
Thankfully we work with excellent rehabilitation experts like Bush & Co and experienced case managers like Matthew who we know will be knocking on our door each and every time specialists have identified a need for more support.
We then negotiate with insurers to try to get the costs of providing the required support covered early on, and being signatories to the national cross-industry Serious Injury Code facilitates that.
Legal support for the seriously injured is all centred on helping them get back to the best possible health, as quickly as possible, and ensuring they are provided for in the long-term.
Being there to offer support during difficult days like we are experiencing now is part and parcel of that support, and I like to think this is a time where our firm will excel. We see the person, not just the claim, and that is currently an approach needed more than ever.
What would be your final message to people who are finding the current situation extra challenging?
Matthew: One of my physiotherapy colleagues has this written on her clinic wall ‘Opportunity through adversity.’ I think that’s exactly right.
I always say to the people we help that with the standard of prosthetics available now, especially to people who have lower limb amputations, there is no reason why many amputees cannot have the same life aspirations that they had before their injury. It is so important to impress upon people that it is the start of a journey and most definitely not the end of one.
This situation is not ideal, but amputation can be just the start of a new journey, and not the end of one. These are of course even more testing days, but I always admire the determination of people we support and together, we can get through this.