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“I feel your pain”
When I hear this phrase I inwardly groan for two reasons. Firstly it sounds as genuine as “have a nice day” and secondly it is so obviously shorthand for “I will try to be sympathetic”. The truth is that only a few people will truly know how clients feel but some have the ability to empathise with what a client is experiencing. Finding a good case manager: client fit is a vital part of achieving successful rehabilitation following all types of injury but especially in the case of head injured clients.
Why is that the case? It is the brain which dictates –
All that you are
All that you do
All that you say
When a person suffers a brain injury, even when it is severe, some or even most of the person’s personality, fundamental beliefs and interests will survive, although may be hidden. For a professional in the case to really emphasise with the client, and how their recovery and future needs can be met, they need a real understanding of where the client is coming from.
Currently the Case Manager for a client may be selected on the basis of:
From our experience there is a third issue which should be taken into consideration.
Does the case manager share any of the client’s background or interests? We were involved in a case where this became an essential selection criteria.
An elite cyclist was knocked down while on a training ride. They suffered serious brain and physical injuries which would radically effect the rest of their life. It was obviously going to be a high value claim with a very long slow rehabilitation, this became more drawn out by the client’s frequent rejection of case manager. Eventually a team was identified in which the key players were keen cyclists. They could discuss things in a more relatable way, set targets in context and understand what objectives the client would respond to.
This example is based on a cyclist and some larger firms have identified specialists to handle specific injuries but there may be other aspects of a client’s personality and background which will affect their attitude to the rehabilitation process. Our conclusion is that firms of all sizes need to consider the whole person before identifying clinical professionals, particularly in the case of head injuries. In our experience it makes the process more productive and satisfactory for all those involved.