Julie Entwistle, MBA, BHSc (OT), BSc (Health / Gerontology)
As one of the largest Occupational Therapy companies in the province, we are noticing a growing trend towards lawyers requesting an occupational therapy assessment and opinion in medical-malpractice, medical-legal, and personal injury lawsuits. Why is an occupational therapy opinion so important? Here are the key reasons:
1. No other profession assess ALL areas of function in the place where people live, work and play – OT is one stop shopping for understanding the physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioral aspects of disability in the environments where people function.
2. Our reports highlight the story of disability and include information on how injury has translated into lost independence, altered life roles, impacted quality of life and reduced productivity. This is essential for helping others to truly understand not just the medical issues, but the LIFE issues.
3. Our assessment and treatment recommendations see the big picture. We highlight someone’s needs now and into the future, and can indicate how disability and dysfunction will progress as someone ages or changes in time.
4. Our reports are not fraught with jargon. Instead, they highlight very practical and real issues that are easily understood and related to by all. They can help one best understand if and how the injury has truly impacted life and living.
5. Our assessments are typically more economical than other professionals and our reports often highlight other assessment and treatment needs (both private and public) to help you and your client know where to go to find solutions.
6. OT’s are also excellent at Future Cost of Care Assessments or Life Care Plans. These comprehensive reports price someone’s future needs including attendant care, housekeeping, home maintenance, and caregiving, along with device replacement costs and the costs for future therapies. These aid in the quantification of injury to increase rewards.
The bottom line is that occupational therapy opinions and reports are a crucial aspect of outlining the impact of disability on daily life. If you are a personal injury lawyer and you are not regularly using occupational therapy assessments and reports in your practice, perhaps consider how this can aid in your ability to help people receive optimal compensation for their loss.