2024 General Election: Voting for those living with disabilities

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With the recent announcement of the 2024 General Election, political parties are gearing up and voters are getting ready to head to the polling stations.

For individuals living with disabilities, the opportunity to take part in the democratic process means addressing the unique challenges they face in accessing polling stations, understanding the resources available, and their voting rights.

Voting if you are living with a disability

The Equality Act 2010 mandates that reasonable adjustments must be made to ensure that people living with disabilities can access polling stations and cast their vote.

Your local authority is legally obligated to make reasonable adjustments which may include:

  • Ensuring that entrances, exits, and voting areas are accessible to wheelchair users. This can involve installing ramps, widening doorways, and ensuring pathways are clear of obstacles.
  • Providing designated accessible parking spaces close to the polling station.
  • Clear and easy-to-read signs that direct voters to the polling station and provide information on the accessibility features available.
  • Offering assistance such as a tactile voting device, large print ballot papers, or allowing a companion to assist with voting.

What if I need assistance with my ballot paper?

If you need support to complete a ballot paper, you can bring along either a:

  • Carer
  • Friend
  • Relative

These individuals do not have to be eligible to vote and will not need to bring photo ID with them. They do need to be 18 years or older. The leading officer at the polling station is also able to help you fill in your ballot paper.

Polling stations should also have various pieces of equipment available to ensure everyone is able to vote. These include:

  • Magnifiers that increase the size of text on a document. The polling station should have more than one strength.
  • Tactile voting device which provides support for voters living with a visual impairment to mark their vote in the right place.
  • Pencil grip that allows a voter living with dexterity impairments to hold the pencil more easily.

I am unable to get to the polling station

If you are unable to visit a polling station, you can vote via post (a postal vote) or proxy (someone voting on your behalf).

To vote via post, you must apply for this which can be found here.

Postal votes are useful for those who find it difficult to move and stand for longer periods or are unable to leave their house.

Voting by proxy means someone votes on your behalf. You must apply for a proxy vote and there are certain requirements that must be met. Details can be found here.

Much like postal votes, voting by proxy is useful if you are unable to leave your house and wish for a trusted individual to vote on your behalf.

Voting day

Voting for the 2024 General Election will take place on the 4th July, 2024 and polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm.

In order to vote, photo ID must be shown.

Accessible voting is not only a legal right; it is a fundamental aspect of an inclusive democracy that listens to the voices of all. For any more information on voting, we recommend visiting Gov.uk

The Importance of Comprehensive Mental Health Support Following a Serious Injury

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Support Following a Serious Injury

Following a serious injury, an individual will face immediate and profound changes to their life. Physically, this could vary widely depending on the nature and severity of the injury. Some individuals may require the amputation of a limb, which can lead to significant adjustments in mobility and the ability to complete day-to-day tasks.

Alternatively, it could result in the paralysis of the lower body, necessitating the use of a wheelchair and a period of intensive and ongoing rehabilitation. manifest as requiring an amputation of a limb or living with paralysis of the lower body.

Psychologically, the aftereffects of a serious injury can be equally, if not, more challenging. Following an injury, many individuals experience a range of mental health issues, may include such as depression due to the sudden change in lifestyle and loss of independence, anxiety driven by concerns about the future, or PTSD, which may present itself through flashbacks or severe anxiety.

The physical and psychologic challenges can create a complex and demanding recovery process, with rehabilitation needed to address both physical rehabilitation and mental health support. To address the various needs of the individual, a case manager will conduct an Immediate Needs Assessment (INA) as part of the client’s case management process. This assessment with identify the client’s urgent post-injury requirements, focusing not only on the physical injury and aftercare but also providing a provision for psychological support.

The impact of serious injuries on a persons mental health

Serious injuries can profoundly affect a person’s mental health. Fear, anxiety, frustration; sadness are just some of the emotions a client may experience following the injury. The sudden shift in physical capabilities can often lead to feelings of helplessness and vulnerability and many individuals may also struggle with a sense of loss.

Understanding the effect of the injury, creating coping methods for pain, or coming to terms with a client’s disability will cause the psychological impact of an injury to extend beyond the initial shock. This will often manifest as mood swings, insomnia, depression, or even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Insights from our case management team

A holistic plan is crucial for the client’s recovery. Our team work closely with psychologists and psychiatrists, and other specialists, as instructors of a multidisciplinary team (MDT) to ensure the entirety of the client’s needs are met.

Empowering U case managers introduce personalised rehabilitation plans and coordinate various aspects of treatment to ensure comprehensive recovery. Understanding that addressing mental well-being is just as important as treating the physical injury itself, we address both aspects equally

Patience and Compassion

Incorporating insights from our experienced case managers enhances the quality of care provided to individuals recovering from serious injuries. Their commitment to individualised support helps foster resilience and promotes overall well-being throughout every step of the recovery journey.

Providing Bespoke Care

The inseparable link between physical and mental care

When it comes to recovering from a serious injury, the connection between physical and mental well-being is undeniable. The body and mind are intricately linked, with each impacting the other in significant ways. Physical pain can often lead to emotional distress, while mental health struggles can manifest physically.

An integrated approach recognises that recovery goes beyond just physical rehabilitation; it involves supporting emotional resilience as well.

Understanding Each Individual

Our case managers understand the importance of comprehensive support that addresses not only the visible injuries but also the invisible. By acknowledging this crucial link, they strive to ensure our clients achieve a true and lasting recovery.

The importance of psychologists and psychiatrists as part of an MDT

When dealing with serious injuries, the role of psychologists and psychiatrists within a MDT is crucial. These specialists provide invaluable support to individuals navigating the complex emotional challenges that often accompany physical trauma.

Psychologists help clients cope with stress, anxiety, and depression resulting from their injuries. Through therapeutic interventions and counselling services, they address the psychological impact of the injury on a person’s overall well-being.

On the other hand, psychiatrists play a vital role in managing any psychiatric conditions that may arise post-injury. They assess for mental health disorders such as PTSD or adjustment disorders and prescribe appropriate medications if necessary.

By collaborating closely with physicians, nurses, therapists, and social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists ensure that holistic care is provided to clients. This integrated approach addresses both the physical and mental aspects of recovery for better outcomes. By incorporating these professionals into an MDT, individuals receive comprehensive support tailored to their unique needs throughout their rehabilitation.

If you would like to find out more about our case management service, contact us on:

hello@empoweringu.co.uk or 0330 128 1722

Parkinson’s: How does Empowering U provide support?

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What is Parkinson’s? 

Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological disorder that affects movement. It develops gradually, usually starting with minor tremors in one hand. Over time, the symptoms worsen and can include stiffness or rigidity of muscles, Bradykinesia (slowness of movement), impaired balance and coordination, and difficulties with speech and writing. 

What causes Parkinson’s? 

Parkinson’s disease primarily affects the brain’s nerve cells responsible for producing dopamine, a chemical messenger essential for smooth and coordinated muscle movements. As dopamine levels decrease, individuals experience a variety of symptoms, including tremors, stiffness, slowness of movement, and impaired balance. 

There are several types of Parkinson’s disease, with the most common being idiopathic Parkinson’s disease, which has no known cause. Other types include Parkinsonism, which refers to conditions with similar symptoms to Parkinson’s disease but with different underlying causes, such as drug-induced Parkinsonism or vascular Parkinsonism. 

Is there just one type of Parkinson’s? 

Parkinson’s is just one condition that falls under the Parkinsonism umbrella. This is a term that covers a wide range of conditions with symptoms like Parkinson’s. 

Idiopathic Parkinson’s 

Meaning the cause is unknown, this is the most common form of Parkinson’s and accounts for the vast majority of instances. 

Young-onset Parkinson’s 

Typically, Parkinson’s occurs in individuals over 50 however when it occurs in a person under 50, this is called Young-onset Parkinson’s. Young-onset Parkinson’s differs from Idiopathic Parkinson’s in several ways: 

  • Slower progression over time 
  • Less frequent cognitive problems such as Dementia 
  • More frequent dyskinesias (involuntary body movements) 
  • Earlier and more frequent dystonias (cramping and abnormal postures) 

Vascular Parkinson’s 

Also known as Arteriosclerotic Parkinsonism, this is when the blood supply to the brain is restricted. This may develop in individuals who have had a mild stroke. 

Comprehensive Support at Empowering U 

Empowering U is dedicated to empowering individuals with Parkinson’s to live fulfilling and independent lives. Our team of experienced care managers and healthcare professionals provides personalised support tailored to each individual’s unique needs. 

Holistic Care Approach: 

We understand that Parkinson’s impacts every aspect of a person’s life, from physical health to emotional well-being. That is why we take a comprehensive approach to care, addressing not only the physical symptoms but also the psychological and social aspects of the disease. 

Not everyone with Parkinson’s has the same set of symptoms; at Empowering U, we take a person-cantered approach to helping those in our care. People with Parkinson’s are experts in their own condition, and we encourage and assist them in advocating for their needs, emphasising what they can do rather than what they can’t.

Rachel Cox, Clinical Lead

Specialised Services 

Our range of specialised services includes: 

  1. Care Coordination: We work closely with healthcare providers to ensure seamless communication and coordination of care, including medication management and therapy sessions.
  2. Symptom Management: Our team develops personalised care plans to address specific symptoms, such as tremors, rigidity, and gait disturbances, utilising a combination of medication, physical therapy, and other therapeutic interventions.
  3. Education and Support: We provide educational resources and support groups to help individuals and their families better understand Parkinson’s and learn effective coping strategies.
  4. Assistive Technology: We offer guidance on the use of assistive devices and technology to enhance mobility, communication, and overall quality of life.
  5. Emotional Support: Living with Parkinson’s disease can be emotionally challenging. Our compassionate team provides support to help individuals and their families navigate the emotional ups and downs of the disease.

Why Empowering U? 

  1. Expertise: Our team consists of experienced healthcare professionals with specialised training in Parkinson’s management.
  2. Comprehensive Support: From symptom management to emotional support, we offer a comprehensive range of services designed to address the diverse needs of individuals living with Parkinson’s disease.
  3. We Empower U: We believe in empowering individuals with Parkinson’s to take control of their health and well-being. Through education, support, and access to resources, we help our clients live fulfilling and meaningful lives despite the presented by Parkinson’s.

We are committed to providing individuals with Parkinson’s, and their family, the resources, guidance, and support they need to live their best lives.  

If you or a loved one is living with Parkinson’s, contact Empowering U today to learn more about how we can help 

Call: 0330 128 1722 or email: hello@empoweringu.co.uk

Collaboration, as featured in the 2015 Rehabilitation Code, demonstrated through two people holding hands.

The 2015 Rehabilitation Code: Prioritising Client Rehabilitation

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What is the 2015 Rehabilitation Code? 

First introduced in 1999, and later reformed in 2007 and 2015, the Rehabilitation Code promotes the collaborative use of rehabilitation and early intervention in the compensation process. Its main aim is to encourage this collaboration to enable the best and quickest possible medical, social and psychological recovery of an injured person (‘Claimant’) regardless of the severity of the injury, returning them as much as possible to the position they were in before the accident.

The third version was introduced in 2015 and created by representatives from ABI, APIL, CMSUK, FOIL, IUA, MASS and PIBA. The largest difference is that lower-value claims (up to £25,000) are now included, recognising the need for early intervention in all cases. 

Client Rehabilitation as a Priority

The 2015 Rehabilitation Code is a voluntary framework for claimants and defendants. It encourages both parties to work collaboratively from the outset of the claim to identify a client’s needs and find the most suitable rehabilitation, usually before liability is admitted. In adopting this approach, the client is able to focus solely on their recovery whilst their claim is ongoing.

Claimant Party 

After an individual is injured, the solicitor is responsible for advocating on behalf of their client’s best interests, which goes beyond just securing financial compensation.  It also includes assessing whether medical or rehabilitative treatment would improve the client’s present or long-term situation. This role is continuous throughout the lifespan of the case but of particular significance during the early stages of the claim. 

It is also the duty of the claimant solicitor to meet with the claimant and/ or their family to identify if there is an immediate need for aids, adaptations, or adjustments to employment, facilitating the claimant’s continued performance in their existing job, securing a suitable alternative role with the same employer or aiding in retraining for new employment opportunities. The solicitor must also, where practical and proportionate, work with the claimant’s employers to ensure that the position is kept open for them as long as possible. 

The solicitor then needs to communicate any requirements to the compensator as soon as is practical to enable them to work collaboratively to address all rehabilitation needs. 

The Compensator 

From the earliest practical stage, it is the duty of the compensator to consider whether the claimant would benefit from additional medical or rehabilitative treatment. This duty continues through the life of the case. 

If the claimant has been identified as requiring rehabilitation, the compensator must contact the claimant solicitor as soon as possible to collaboratively work together to address the claimant’s needs.

Codes, such as the 2015 Rehabilitation Code, are designed to ensure the client's best interests and they not only provide a framework for early intervention and rehabilitation in order to aid the clients recovery, but also ensure that the treatment process is as smooth and as efficient as possible. These codes empower clients with knowledge and protect their rights.

They create awareness about the client's options, signposting them to the appropriate support and thereby aiding in their decision-making process. Adhering to these codes signifies that we operate at a high degree of professionalism and integrity. This promotes transparency in our operations and helps in establishing trust with the clients. Following these shows our commitment to providing a high-quality service.

Jennifer Mitchell CMgr MCMIHead of Business Operations

The Case Manager 

In catastrophic and severe cases, the 2015 Rehabilitation Code recommends a qualified Case Manager should be appointed before any rehabilitation commences. In some cases, this may not be possible but should be considered a priority. 

The Case Manager’s role is to assess the client’s needs, coordinate various services, and facilitate rehabilitation efforts. In medium, severe and catastrophic injuries, a Case Manager will notify the need for and type of rehabilitation assistance by means of an Immediate Needs Assessment (‘INA’). The INA will be carried out by a Case Manager or appropriate rehabilitation professional, e.g. an NHS Rehabilitation Consultant. 

The Code notes that a Case Manager must be professionally and suitably qualified and experienced according to the injury sustained. Our Case Managers are trained in a range of fields: 

  • Brain Injury 
  • Spinal Injury
  • Orthopaedics 
  • Paediatrics 
  • Functional Neurological Disorder (‘FND’) 
  • Amputation 
  • Neurological Disorders 
  • Mental Health 
  • Drug Misuse  
  • Musculoskeletal 
  • Complex Care and Complex Polytrauma 

They are also registered with professional bodies including: 

  • BABICM (‘British Association of Brain Injury & Complex Case Management’) 
  • CMSUK (‘Case Management Society UK’) 

Our Approach and Expertise 

The primary goal of the Code is to prioritise the injured individual’s involvement in the entirety of the process, empowering them to maintain control over their treatment whenever feasible. 

Our team employs a collaborative and transparent approach, serving as a central figure within a Multi-disciplinary Team (‘MDT’), and holds a respected position within the clinical negligence and personal injury sectors. 

Instructed by some of the UK’s leading solicitors and law firms, our team uses their expertise to conduct Immediate Needs Assessments, create reports, and play a vital role in orchestrating and strategising the necessary care and rehabilitation for the client.