After the reorganization of NHS trauma care in the UK in 2012 and the establishment of a major trauma network, there was a significant improvement in patient care and outcomes after serious injury. Private neurological rehabilitation has also advanced rapidly, with increasing access to specialized facilities after initial acute care.
This article first published in the November 2022 edition PI focuspartner Chris Smith, uses recent case studies to review the current state of neurorehabilitation.
Facilities outside the UK, particularly those in the US and Australia, have been at the forefront of neurological rehabilitation for several years. Plaintiffs with many serious injuries traveled from the UK and underwent state-of-the-art rehabilitation at well-established overseas centers.
These include the Brooker Biofeedback Center in Miami, the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, and Neurophysical Therapy in Australia.
Dr. Bernard Brooker established the internationally recognized biofeedback method in 1981 at the Brooker Biofeedback Center in Miami, using precise technology to restore lost function in people with neurological disorders. I was. Since then, more than 12,000 of his people from around the world have visited his Brucker Center for treatment.
Founded in 1985, the Miami Project research program focuses on traumatic spinal cord and brain injuries and other neurological disorders. The Miami Project is considered one of the leading research programs for cutting-edge discovery and clinical research in neurological diseases.
In the late 1980s, Ken Ware founded Neurophysics Therapy in Australia. Neurophysics Therapy is an exercise-based therapy that engages and triggers the body’s natural healing processes through very light and controlled resistance training.
While petitioners have often faced skepticism when seeking large interim payments to fund rehabilitation abroad, this is not always the case, and some petitioners believe that was successful.
In September 2014, XY was involved in a car accident when a car ran into him while riding his motorcycle.
XY suffered a vertebral fracture of the C6 vertebra requiring a C6 corpectomy and plate fixation. He also suffered fractures to his left shoulder blade and left collarbone that were managed non-operatively. He is quadriplegic and has AIS/Frankel C. He has incomplete sensation at his C6 level on the left and right, and C8 movements are almost perfect on the right side and perfect on the left side.
XY was keen to explore all rehabilitation options, especially exoskeletons and biofeedback. This was upheld by the defendants’ attorneys and insurance companies, who provided significant interim funding. This meant that XY was able to try out the exoskeleton and then purchase it. In July 2017, he joined his Brucker Center in Miami for a program of biofeedback, as there were no comparable facilities in the UK.
The total cost of sessions, airfare, accommodation and caregiver attendance was approximately £19,000 for a three-week visit. XY should be retaken after 6-8 months and was further advised that she would benefit from annual visits of 15-20 sessions each for 6-10 years. XY reports several benefits from this treatment, including improved core control and posture.
Following the settlement of his lawsuit, XY arranged further travel in August 2018.
In August 2015, SC was injured in a bicycle accident. SC suffered devastating injuries including a fractured sternum, fractured ribs, vertebral fractures at T6, T7, L1, L4, S3/4 and a spinal cord injury at L1 that left her paralyzed from the waist down. .
SC was airlifted to Queens Medical Center in Nottingham and after approximately four weeks of treatment at Lincoln County Hospital, he was transferred to a spinal cord injury specialist at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield.
SC was very motivated and pushed himself every day in rehab. He was finally discharged on December 15, 2015.
In August 2016, SC, inspired by Paralympian John McLean, embarked on a six-week rehabilitation program with Ken Ware of Neurophysics Therapy in Australia.
Cooperation with defendants’ attorneys and insurance companies was critical. Liability was recognized early, with insurance companies offering substantial interim payments to fund somewhat unconventional rehabilitation. Said he would never walk again, his SC took his first steps on his own during that trip to Australia.
The lawsuit was settled without court action in late November 2016. SC returned to Australia in the fall of 2017 after continuing his rehab in UK prime his physio his Cambridge utilizing neurophysics training techniques.
Emerging Technologies and Development of Rehabilitation Close to Home
While it is still possible for plaintiffs to access rehabilitation abroad, private rehabilitation facilities in the UK have come a long way.
Several state-of-the-art rehabilitation centers have opened in the last decade, offering both inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation for neurological disorders. This is no longer just a transitional arrangement between NHS rehabilitation and home care. This is a state-of-the-art rehabilitation that offers claimants the opportunity to take their recovery to the next level with a multidisciplinary team that may not be accessible in the community.
Claimants can receive care from consultants in rehabilitation medicine, spinal cord injury, pain management, and more, along with rehabilitation teams that provide traditional rehabilitation. You can also get more specialized services such as neuromusic therapy, hydrotherapy and robotic therapy.
In April 2018, further progress was made with the introduction of the UK’s first neurorehabilitation center powered by robotics and virtual reality technology (MOTIONrehab). This allows the advocate to achieve massive amounts of practice and movement repetition that would otherwise be impossible.
In late 2021, MindMaze Healthcare will deploy MindPod to two UK facilities: STEPS Rehabilitation and Royal Buckinghamshire Hospital. MindPod, the world’s first immersive neuro-animated experience, is a unique form of location-based digital therapeutic rehabilitation that focuses on brain repair through high-intensity, high-dose, complex exploratory movements. Our continued cooperation will make these facilities available to claimants.
Such technology is not only available to those who can claim compensation. In 2015, BASIC (Center for Cerebrospinal Injury) launched the first public virtual reality rehabilitation service providing access to CAREN (Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment), DynSTABLE (Dynamic Stability and Balance Learning Environment), and C-Mill. deployed. Other physical and cognitive rehabilitation.
State-of-the-art rehab costs a lot of money. However, there could be cost savings if claimants were able to access this in the UK without having to travel abroad.
Such early access to rehabilitation undoubtedly benefits claimants significantly, which in turn benefits defendants and insurers.
Insurance companies are becoming increasingly active in funding such rehabilitation, with clinical support from claimants’ treatment teams and support from professionals. Rehabilitation centers also recognize the importance of opening their doors to everyone involved in litigation. This includes inviting attorneys and insurers to treatment review meetings to provide invaluable insight into how claimant rehabilitation and interim payments are being utilized. It’s the key to accessing the best provisions for claimants.