Being discharged from the Court of Protection after a brain injury can be a long and arduous journey.
It was especially long for Rebecca Gilmore, however, given that her brain injury was never detected or addressed until several years after the incident that caused it.
Her life changed at 11 years old when she was involved in a road traffic collision outside her family home. After being rushed to hospital, she was placed on a life support machine for three days, having suffered three fractures to her skull and two bleeds on her brain.
She recovered from the physical injuries in hospital, then Rebecca’s family adapted the family home so she could live downstairs due to reduced mobility. They also had to adjust to significant changes in Rebecca’s behaviour due to what was an undiagnosed brain injury.
But it wasn’t until five yearsafter the incident that Rebecca discovered that her right eye socket had been fractured. This triggered a trip to a head injury specialist, who finally diagnosed her brain injury at age 16.
Rebecca was referred to Irwin Mitchell and the long road to rehabilitation began, initially at the Redford Court Rehabilitation Unit in Liverpool. She attended the unit for six months of intensive treatment. This was the first specialist help she’d had in dealing with and overcoming her injury.
Our client liaison manager supported Rebecca in finding a rental property and seeking therapies, such as physiotherapy, and neuropsychology. Her independent living skills were also developed.
Five years ago, Rebecca struggled with social situations and she was told by professionals that she wouldn’t be able to have children, drive or hold down a job due to her injury.
Rebecca, now 28, has a five-year old son, has passed her driving test and works as a support worker for others. She thrives on making a difference to other people and helping them through their rehabilitation journey.
Due to Rebecca’s progress, our Court of Protection team applied for her capacity to be reassessed and for her to be discharged from the Court of Protection. As a testament to her hard work, this was successfully granted last year and Rebecca now independently manages her own affairs.
To others who have had similar struggles in life, Rebecca’s advice is to be positive. She says: “Be strong in yourself, do not give up. As much as you don’t think that life will improve, it will. You need to work with the team you have around you as, if you work against them, you’ll always be in the same place. It’s about knowing there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.”
I often say to Rebecca now that the world is her oyster and I’m excited to see what the future holds for such an incredible woman. I feel honoured to have been part of her journey.
Sally Murphy is a Court of Protection solicitor at Irwin Mitchell’s Manchester office.