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A Rehabilitation Journey: Steve’s story

April 18, 2024

The Principal York

A client’s journey from a life-changing event, through rehabilitation and the future.

Our rehabilitation conference took place on Thursday 18 April 2024 at The Principal, York.

It was a must-attend for professionals across rehabilitation, life-changing injuries, treatment and recovery, working with or supporting those who have suffered serious and life-changing injuries. The event saw over 140 delegates in attendance.

The conference explored the story of ‘Steve’, who suffered life-changing injuries after being hit by a car on his walk home. Following his journey from accident through rehabilitation and the future, attendees gained a better understanding of the litigation journey that claimants experience. They also got an understanding of how rehabilitation interacts with and informs the claims process.

Beginning with accident reconstruction, first looked at what happened to Steve at the time of impact and assessed his injuries. We then moved on to emergency care, treatment and diagnosis, before determining Steve’s rehabilitation and assessment needs. We ended the session by planning for the future and exploring what Steve’s life may look like post-settlement.

To help bring reality to the journey we were also joined by Leon Clarkson, a real-life survivor who will provide a first-hand account of his experience living with a life-changing injury. Leon sustained a from glandular fever in 2010 at the age of 28. He now works with Rehabilitate Therapy to help support others impacted by brain injury as they deal with adjustment.

If you have any questions about the event, please contact the conference team at conferences@switalskis.com .

The event gallery

Conference agenda

8:45 AM

Registration and refreshments

9:15 AM

John McQuater - Director, Solicitor and Joint Head of Personal Injury
Welcome and introduction.

9:30 AM

Claire Baker - Research Associate, Imperial College London
What happened to Steve - Explaining the accident.

10:10 AM

Dr Ruth Kent – Consultant and Senior Lecturer in Neurological Rehabilitation at Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust and University of Leeds
Saving Steve A look at emergency care, post-acute treatment and rehab.

10:50 AM


11:20 PM

Olivia Dennison - Case Manager
Crisis crunch points The importance of a good Case Manager.

12:00 PM

Leon Clarkson
Life after injury A first-hand account of regaining confidence and adjusting after injury.

12:45 PM

Lunch and refreshments

2:15 PM

Kate Heward - Owner and Clinical Director, Rehabilitate Therapy
The new Steve Helping the family move forward.

3:00 PM

Thom Harrison DipPFS - Financial Planner, Perspective Managing Wealth
Balancing Steve’s books Planning for the future.

3:45 PM

John McQuater - Director, Solicitor and Joint Head of Personal Injury
Closing remarks and conclusion.

4:00 PM


Speaker biographies

Claire Baker - Research Associate, Faculty of Engineering, Dyson School of Design Engineering

Claire is a PhD student whose current research – the AutoTriage project – lies at the exciting intersection of the automotive, medicine and engineering industries. She is investigating the feasibility of predicting traumatic brain injury severity in road traffic collisions using onboard vehicle sensors, with the overarching aim of improving emergency services response and trauma outcome.

As well as being hosted by Design Engineering during her PhD, Claire is a member of Imperial College London's multidisciplinary Centre for Doctoral Training programme in Neurotechnology, from which she graduated with a distinction in her research master’s in 2018. Claire's background is in astrophysics, which she studied during her undergraduate master's at the University of Southampton. She graduated in 2017 with a first-class honours in physics, completing her final year research at Harvard University's Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Currently, Claire is developing a bicycle helmet rating system and assessing common helmets used in the UK by people who cycle, funded by the Road Safety Trust.

Dr Ruth Kent - Consultant and Senior Lecturer in Neurological Rehabilitation, Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust and University of Leeds

Dr Kent is a Consultant and Senior Lecturer in Rehabilitation Medicine (special interest in neurological rehabilitation) at the Academic Department of Musculoskeletal and Rehabilitation Medicine. She was the lead for neuro-rehabilitation at Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust and also provides clinical input into the Southwest Yorkshire Mental Health Trust through input into the Kendray Barnsley Rehabilitation Unit and works with the Learning Disability Psychiatry and Therapy Team.

Ruth looks after patients across their clinical journey, both with acquired injuries and with longer-term degenerative conditions, including genetic and congenital. She works in inpatient rehabilitation of head injuries and other acute neurological conditions as well as stroke care, and provides outpatient neurological rehabilitation care and symptom management.

She has an interest in medical ethics and has been on the local research ethics committee, advising the Trust and local PCTs on the aspects of safeguarding, ethics and service development.

Olivia Dennison - Case Manager

Olivia Dennison, Case Manager, is a qualified physiotherapist with an MSc in Psychology. She has over ten years of experience providing services to clients with complex needs as a result of life-changing catastrophic injuries and trauma.

Olivia’s diverse clinical experience equips her with a unique skill set and an extensive depth of knowledge and understanding of each client she works with.

Olivia offers a meticulous, confident, and pragmatic approach to each case. She exercises an effective combination of organisation, planning, creativity, critical thinking, and excellent client skills that are highly valued by clients and professionals alike.

Olivia is registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and is also a member of the British Association of Brain Injury and Complex Case Management and The British Psychological Society.



Leon Clarkson - Brain Injury Survivor

Leon sustained a hypoxic brain injury from glandular fever in 2010 at the age of 28, after receiving limited oxygen to his brain for 40 minutes. Before rehabilitation Leon was trapped in a vicious cycle, struggling to come to terms with his new life.

He now works alongside Kate Heward as a crucial part of Rehabilitate Therapy’s client community team, supporting those impacted by brain injury in dealing with difficult issues including loss of confidence, loneliness, adjustment, and poor self-esteem.

In 2023 Leon was awarded the UKABIF Award for Inspiration.

Dr Kate Heward - Owner and Clinical Director, Rehabilitate Therapy

The Owner and Clinical Director of Rehabilitate Therapy, Kate is a doctor of occupational science and occupational therapy. She is a neuro-rehabilitation specialist with 26 years of experience (hospital/community). Kate won the College of Occupational Therapy Merit Award winner in 2016. Kate is a specialist visiting lecturer at universities in Leeds, Sheffield, and Bradford.

Kate specialises in vocational rehabilitation, transitional rehabilitation, complex assessment, fatigue management, sleep intervention and neurological splinting.

Thom Harrison DipPFS - Financial Planner, Perspective Managing Wealth

Thom specialises in providing holistic financial planning advice to individual clients and has additional qualifications in discretionary investment management and long-term care needs.

He also specialises in providing advice to clients with complex needs, many of whom have survived catastrophic injury and who, as a result of litigation, have secured funds which need to be invested, managed and utilised wisely to provide for their long-term wellbeing.

He previously worked as a risk and compliance consultant on behalf of the ‘Big 4’ audit firms and major retail banks. He designed and implemented compliant procedures – including for the assessment and handling of complex vulnerability concerns – for major rectification projects. He also sat on a range of forums, providing guidance and advice on complex and contentious issues.

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