For the Social Sciences and Human Service Professions. Individual contributors contacted were: two advocates, five attorneys, eight occupational therapists, one industrial psychologist, one orthopedic surgeon and two clients. Occupational therapists would be more effective if there was some sort of screening process to ensure that the court hears the opinion of an actual expert in the field. The opinions of the contributors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the author or other interviewees. Current realities, experiences, and opinions of South African occupational therapists working in this field as well as the relevant role players are shared in this article.
Act 4 of 2000, 12 February 2007. She felt she got 'all the information she needed' from a good interview with the client. You can also find customer support email or phone in the next page and ask more details about availability of this book. The colleague had qualified as an occupational therapist from a South African University in 2007. Promotion of Access to Information, Act 4 of 2000, 12 February 2007. All of this is done to ensure that justice prevails and that expert witnesses really are experts 29.
Formalising and ensuring the standard of medico legal practice cannot be done by an external organisation or legislative body, it needs to be attended to from within the profession itself, starting with current medico-legal practitioners. The more experienced a therapists is, the greater their responsibility. She had bought two work samples, a Valpar 201 and Valpar 9, rented office space close to the courts and started marketing her services amongst attorneys. These individuals were contacted by the author and the reason for and content of the article was discussed by them, those that agreed to participate were sent an electronic discussion format with open ended questions requiring a narrative response to stimulate their thoughts and opinions. This article is primarily aimed at improving my profession's interaction with and service to you. A medico-legal meeting held in 1993, in Hillbrow Hospital, Johannesburg with Professor Sharon Brintnell from Canada, currently Professor Emeritus and President of the World Federation of Occupational Therapists as speaker had 12 attendees 5. Legislation for every day Occupational Therapy Practice.
They spend more time talking to them and their families and actually go to the clients' homes and work places. Occupational therapists working in medico legal work should see colleagues as team members rather than competitors. Medico-legal discussions, the sharing of experiences, relevant knowledge and information need to be opened up and be accessible to all occupational therapists. Where it is true that an individual occupational therapist's conduct does not characterise the profession as a whole, it cannot be denied that the individual therapist represents the profession at any given point in time; the more public this representation, the greater the impact on the profession's reputation. Occupational therapists will be instructed by a claimant, solicitor or referral agency working on their behalf to conduct a detailed report into the functioning life of the claimant to be produced to a court to help the judge decide upon a conclusion to a case. In a courtroom packed with journalists and interested public, the occupational therapist presented a professional and thorough evaluation of the functional damage a client sustained after a personal assault. There were initially very few occupational therapists interested or willing to do this type of work.
This is forcing therapists in the field into retrospection and re-alignment. The aim being for the profession as a whole, to profit from the pasts triumphs and disasters and to encourage the meeting of challenges and ethical questions raised, as we move into a new legislative era. When they were requested to do joint minutes it was glaringly obvious that the first report the plaintiffs reports had been 'copied' with a few 'cosmetic' changes and handed in as a 'defendants' report. Every therapist is now open to this level of public scrutiny. Occupational Therapy Medicolegal Report An occupational therapy medicolegal report is request when there is a case of personal injury, accident or medical negligence that is to be decided in court. This has led to a boom in this field of practice over the last decade.
In the process the profession of occupational therapy received widespread positive exposure. In medico legal work the profession of occupational therapy has had a unique opportunity to establish its credibility as experts in the assessment and identification of functional ability as it has been affected by various pathologies and injuries. The interest in the field has grown steadily and in the last few years prolifically. Universities that train occupational therapists, offer pre-and post-graduation lectures, workshops, notes and short courses on matters related to medico-legal work. Medico-legal work needs to be a part of a clinical practice relevant to medico-legal work such as an adult rehabilitation practice or a pediatric practice or a vocational rehabilitation practice. Childrens Act 38 of 2005, 12 February 2007. On - you disabled cookies on this website - some functions will not operate as intended.
For example how many clients with the potential to return to work actually manage to do so without the professional assistance and guidance stated in the reports? They can be contacted through the author. The request for joint minutes was given a week before the trial date, three months later. Medico-legal assessments comprise observation, questionnaires, interviews and clinical examination, with results presented in a detailed court report. From such practices only real experts qualified by the rule of 'experience trumps all' should be used to represent the profession in legal matters. It was too stressful and demanding on my after-hours time. With no physical clinical experience, one year community service psychiatric experience and two years experience as a claims assessor this occupational therapist was being used as an Expert Witness in one of the High Courts of South Africa. This upsurge of occupational therapists into the field of medico-legal work holds the opportunity of merit or ruin for the profession as a whole.
Many of the opinions given have become generic during the authors 20 years of discussions in this field, but some individual contributors were chosen by the author for their reputation, years of experienced in the field or for having raised valuable points of opinion. Occupational Therapy Network provides expert opinion in medicolegal matters. As the specialty of medico-legal practice benefits from the suggestions made, the public sharing of knowledge and experience from this field of practice will equip all occupational therapists with the skills and the confidence that, should the occasion demand and enable them to present their case and explain their conduct with confidence and integrity, in any legal forum. At present, in South Africa, it rarely happens that clinical occupational therapists are called on to testify in courts, but times are changing. This credibility is captured as public documents in every case an occupational therapist was involved in. The Role of the Occupational Therapist in Personal Injury Litigation Part 1.
This should not be a cause for panic that frightens therapists into inactivity. Pretoria: van Schaik Publishers; 2011. They then sign the report and represent it in further development of the matter. This article looks at the current realities and experiences of South African occupational therapists' working in the Medico Legal field. Advocate A is a specialist in Family and Child Law. Sharing the experiences of occupational therapists within medico legal practice holds the opportunity of learning for the whole profession as the possibility of legal intrusion into general occupational therapy practices grows.