Balance Your Case With Your Client’s Real Story

(Original post May 2016)

In her teen days my sister Janice (the Floridian) was quite adept at gymnastics, particularly on the balance beam where she made great use of her balancing skills. When Janice moved on to college, dad cut up the balance beam for a new use as exit steps from a sliding glass door to the back patio!

Balance BeamDad constructed a balance beam and re-purposed it as well!

Balancing is involved in many areas of day-to-day living and is critical to an abundant life. People balance tires, bank accounts, relationships, priorities and work….you get the idea. Finding balance is an ongoing lifetime project. I’ve heard the comment that it’s good to fall / fail because it means you were trying. If you think about your success, you will be successful. If you think about your falls or your failures, you’ll learn to improve.

My dad’s balance had not been good lately, although he was working on improving it. He moved continuously during each day, but a stroke and a fall down steps lead to no return to life on earth. Dad died a week after he turned 83 in the morning on 5/5/16. I’ve blogged about Death as Part of Living, and can now fully realize one has to die from many things in order to move through life and live fully….and there’s always a story to tell.

Highway BalanceRichard R. Prochnow

4/26/33 – 5/5/16

As my dad aged, he never stopped working hard and to his best ability. There was a balance in how he lived his life, and I’ll never stop learning from him! I can calm my mind and simply hear his voice when he called on the phone….“Hi Amy, this is your dad.” [Like I didn’t know!] Then he’d talk about what was happening! And it was real, interesting and well-balanced for the soul.

In whatever situation you’re in, keep on practicing finding balance, and you’ll find a way to not fall; or a way to increase your sense of balance at its core. You may lose direction, or momentarily become blinded, but you’ll find your way again. Trust yourself. Just like my dad did driving thousands if not millions of miles on the road traveling to participate in the world around him.

On a lighter side (yes, I cried but I want you to think about your own life with no tears involved), as part of my personal story, I remember an incident a long time ago while I was working as a banquet server for a hotel…walking into the room full of diners with a large tray of full drinking glasses (tea/water)….well, never mind. Let’s say there was an imbalance that could’ve been disastrous!

Spilled WaterI learned to readjust the next tray and focus on my goal…..just to get the glasses on the table safely without spilling!

We balance our bodies in many, many ways. Balancing skills make use of poses and states of mind to focus attention on work, yoga, aerobics, tabata, healing touch, hiking, golfing, bike riding…being with the person you love. You get the drift, physical activity that involves any number of exercise moves or mental positions.

Yes, simply thinking with a sense of balance is very, very good and helps avoid failure (and falling). Jurists use a balancing test to weigh the importance of multiple factors in a legal case. If you want to highlight these factors, I am more than ready to help you bring a balanced case to court.

This is the Chinese symbol for Balance! When I look at it, it makes sense! Because my work is my life calling and I continuously learn and practice balancing, I will help you help your client. Call me at 515-282-7753 to educate me on your case. A vocational evaluation or a life care plan may provide just the balance you were looking to tell your client’s real story.

P.S. At times I am asked to simply evaluate a specific aspect of a case. Or my opinion on what someone else has already reported. Even how I feel about various aspects of a person’s capacity to succeed….. Don’t hesitate to call me : )

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Life Care Planning Helps Attorneys in Many Ways & in All Phases of Litigation! Yes, Really!

Litigation strategies include many a plan!  Yes, in fact many plans are involved, but have you thought of a Life Care Plan? 

Life Care Planning helps attorneys in many ways and in all phases of litigation. The actual plan itself becomes a comprehensive document that provides for the future care and associated costs of a person facing a serious illness or injury.

In earlier phases of litigation, a life care plan helps evaluate the potential value of a case. During settlement negotiations, a life care plan helps identify monetary ranges. And of course during trial a life care planner can be critical to your litigation success!

Life Care Planning Services Help Attorneys in Many Ways, Here’s A Few:

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  • Project future cost of care ~ When someone has sustained a life altering injury, trying to determine the correct and fair amount for a settlement is a daunting task. It’s difficult to properly analyze all aspects of an injured party’s condition. A professional life care planner (one qualified as I am!!) can help you assess the current needs of a patient and project future complications with a systematic approach to analyzing the injured party’s current and future conditions. After analyzing all injury-related documents, interviewing the injured party and communicating with medical professionals, the life care planner will produce a plan that considers future costs in order to ensure a fair and reasonable quality of life. The plan will consider financial, physical, and psychological factors. In the end, you’ll have a thoroughly researched document that will prove bulletproof at settlement conferences and in the courtroom.

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  • Consider likely complications ~ When it comes to catastrophic injuries and long term illnesses, you have to expect the unexpected. Almost undoubtedly, complications will arise in association with the life-altering events somewhere down the road. With that in mind, an experienced life care planner will identify the most likely future complications, allowing all parties involved to understand and adequately provide for these unforeseen circumstances.Related image

  • Expert Testimony * ~ An experienced life care planner provides crystal-clear medical testimony for depositions and trial. Life care planners can accurately and simply describe the injured person’s lifetime of needs and justify the associated costs.   *In Addendum, as a Vocational Expert, I am also qualified to testify on the injured person’s work life and earning capacity.
  • Able to be customized ~ Not all cases require a full-blown life care plan. However, that doesn’t mean a life care planner can’t help you. The injury or illness doesn’t necessarily have to be catastrophic in order to benefit from future care cost projections. Versatile life care planners offer abbreviated plans for these special situations that allow you to evaluate case value and strategize early on.

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  • Establishes a level playing field ~ Regardless of what side of the fence you stand on, you can benefit from hiring a professional for life care planning services. A life care plan helps all parties know what to expect and thus helps settlements be reached more quickly. A life care planner can aid in strategizing to ensure the best possible outcome. It’s not just a time-saver. It’s a tool that gives you the key insight of one with an understanding of medical needs and the associated costs.

If you represent someone who has suffered a serious injury or illness, or a defendant accused of being responsible for an injury, consider obtaining a life care plan. Doing so will allow you to understand the future care needs of the affected party, which will result in a speedy, fair settlement.

Source for above written article: http://www.articlesbase.com/health-articles/benefits-of-life-care-planning-in-all-phases-of-litigation-3466273.html  Oct 13, 2010 • By Nancy Fraser

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Contact Amy E. Botkin, a Certified Life Care Planner at 515-282-7753 to discuss how a life care plan can help you to help your client.          

*I have the expertise to include Vocational Rehabilitation Services and Recommendations, when needed, into a person’s plan, and am trained in expert testimony.

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Critiques & Rebuttals…Need One? Rebut No Matter What!

Vocational report writing is a very powerful form of communication and can influence the degree of success for the individual for whom it was written. I’ve written, critiqued and rebutted many reports.  I’m Here to Help! 

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I love to communicate
through the written word! How many people do you know who really love to write reports? I do!!

Let me ask: Have you ever read (or tried to decipher) a vocational report that doesn’t make sense?  Is the report ambiguous and difficult to read? Does the person it was written for understand it? Is it possible the report can be defended? Or should the report be ripped apart, piece by piece to get to its’ nuts and bolts? Want help? Need a critique or a rebuttal?

Rebut No Matter What! 

Bull

This was my husband’s Grandpa Cliff Yearington’s Bull. Cliff knew a lot about Bulls & Bulls*** too. 

Loosen, take apart and re-assemble that poorly prepared report…Will it fall apart or simple wobble on? A poorly prepared report stresses difficulties but doesn’t offer much information about solutions. It talks about weaknesses rather than strengths; deficits and negatives rather than pluses and positives. It seeks to make threats rather than suggest changes. It uses multiple words, unclear statistics, and a slick method to confuse rather than clarify.KeepitSimple

Simply, it’s not helpful to write an entire vocational report about how bad off the person is, especially without mentioning plans to help make a positive impact on the individual’s life.

I love to comb through reports and make all attempts to uncover what the contents say to the reader.  Just because it’s a report doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to make sense! A report still needs to flow, tell a story, describe details and make valid and reasonable conclusions.

Here’s a sentence commonly found in reports from the same vocational person that I’ve been asked to rebut. [Keep in mind this long line comes after results of testing are provided within the report, but they are not explained at all!]

It is important to note that the purpose of all vocational testing done and reported here is to compare an individual’s current performance with their past performance as documented by their education, training, experience, and the standard worker trait factors associated with that history.

Say what? What does this run-on sentence mean?  The writer is using testing to compare performance? Did the evaluee’s past performance have anything to do with the testing administered? Did this person take the same tests throughout their work history? And then the paragraph continues…

 It is NOT correct to confuse an individual’s current test performance with performance in work prior to injury, as current performance is likely affected by the sequelae of disability.

Okay, now who is confused? The test taker? The person administering the test? I’ll tell you who….the reader!Related image The reader is easily confused by a poorly prepared report! Don’t be a confused reader! It’ll get you nowhere!

My initial question regarding this vocational report scenario, maybe helping to avoid confusion from the get go, is WHY were EACH of the specific testing instruments administered at all to this specific person? What is the rationalization for administration? The vocational person who wrote the report does not come close to answering these questions. To be ethically sound, administer testing only with a direct and relative reason to do so. 

I’ve written a professional report about my opinion on ethics and use of testing in vocational evaluations. Please contact me for a copy of the report. If you are my contact on LinkedIn, you’ll find it there readily available for now.

The underlying use of testing results to try to prove a person is permanently and totally disabled raises many ethical questions. Would you want that for yourself?

A test, really, a series of tests that I was forced to take, I didn’t understand, and simply put I didn’t want to take…those results determine my fate? Absolutely ridiculous! Results of testing are meant to assist a person for true and valid reasons…..not to paint a picture of “post injury residual vocational potential”

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Would you like to take ~ 10 tests in a single sitting? No!

Without testing, evaluation is merely speculative

Really now? I’ve helped to place literally hundreds of people without administering testing! And many other placement people do too!

Yes, I use certain standardized tests and self-assessments to help people when it is appropriate for reasons directly related to their placement goals, but that isn’t all I use during a vocational evaluation! I gather knowledge and assess many other areas involving work, interests, skills, aptitudes and lifestyle to help. I do not rely on only the use of test results!

Back to report writing (which I love to do!)  Writing is a very specialized skill; and I continuously study, practice and improve upon my own skills. As a professional writer, I never stop training! I think I gained natural talent from my Grandpa Jack, a journalist!

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When I’m writing, I get very absorbed! My office cat will testify to that!

Again, do you need a critique or a rebuttal? Have you recently read (or tried to decipher) a report that doesn’t make sense?  I’m Your Person to Help!

If your opinion on a case doesn’t mesh at all with the report on your desk, please contact me to help sort out the discrepancies. Keep in mind, I know opinions are just that, opinions.  And reports are meant to answer questions, not raise more!

I also want you to keep in mind that if you believe in the truth, there’s a way to show it. Contact me for expert testimony and witness services, too! Oh, and I definitely can rebut a life care plan as well! Thank you for reading this post!

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Want to Buy Some TIME From Me…an Educator and a Counselor?

You’re a good attorney, and you care about the people you represent. You’re also busy and spend a lot of time on time. In fact, you even buy TIME. And, I’m writing to help you make a more comfortable purchase from me!

MoneyTime

I fully realize attorneys buy TIME

Time – Because you bill by the hour (and so do I), I promise to help you be more productive and, thus, more successful by providing value laden services.

Pinky SwearI promise to always respect your time.

 

Information – Because I totally understand why you HATE looking stupid (and so do I), I will provide accurate information that you want or need.

Pinky SwearI promise to always ensure you have a good reason for working with me.

 

Money – Because saving money and making money are the goals for almost every law firm (and for every consulting firm too), I will effectively use all the resources available to help with your case.

Pinky SwearI promise to be accurate and fair with my billing.

 

Education – Because lawyers always need continuing education (and so do I) to maintain your license, I am available to present to any group that would benefit from learning about work and disability. In addition, as I’m an educator and a counselor, I can help you and your clients in many ways.

Pinky SwearI promise to bring new light to your litigation strategies.

 

Time on HandsHow much TIME would you like to have on your hands…especially when working on a complex case that has to do with work and disability? So there it is!  But wait, there’s more

I, Amy, promise to Always Be True at My Core, Apple Butterflybecause that’s all I have ever had and have ever needed! And I’m willing to share.

Enjoy a piece of quality fruit (preferably on an empty stomach!) and then give me, Amy E. Botkin, a call to discuss your case. 515-282-7753

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Need Help in Telling Your Client’s Story? Here’s One About Bowling & Rehabilitation!

My husband Randy had his cardiology checkup clearing him to see the doctor every two years now. Luckily he only had to make visits for a little over three years following his cardioversion and rehabilitation.  As you may know, anytime work is done on any electrical system there’s a chance something could go awry so keep tracking your own system(s). Here’s a personal health story which all began with bowling.

2015-01-23 Botkin Bowling Ball

Botkin’s Black Ebonite Bowling Bowl 

I was on a business trip in Mason City, Iowa, (US Veteran clients) with my favorite chauffeur Mr. Botkin during the summer of 2013. On the way out of town we stopped at the Rose Bowl for a little entertainment. There’s a tendency to drive around even hundreds of miles with our bowling balls (yes, safely in the trunk). Ya never know when the mood to bowl strikes!

Randy’s bowling style stirs up quite a racket, especially when his ball wipes out all 10 pins! His posture at the end of his follow through looks like he’s ‘a hoppin’ on one foot ballerina! And the noise that emits from his vocal cords and Botkin embroidered on his shirt above his heart, he’s a down right bowling man!

Steerike!Steerike!

10 pinsI’m more of a slow and steady, aiming for good form, keeping the ball lined up with the directional arrows kind of bowler (the concept similar to how I prefer to golf too) and hope for that distinct noise of scattering pins!  I’ll take any knocked down! On this summer day we bowled a few games and had a great time! I don’t remember any scores, but who cares! Okay, fine I’m sure his score was better than mine.

A few days after the trip, Randy’s neck was tilted. Questions about how he felt and the reason as to why the askew head revealed no valid answer and no comprehension he was even guarding his head. Then came complaints of “feeling out of wack.”

I took his pulse…and ahhh, felt long gaps of time before the next beat, and those beats I could feel were not the same strength.  I swear his heart was skipping a beat (and not because he is sooo in love with me), and realized his timing was off (literally)! Randy made a visit to our family doctor who referred him to a specialist. Low and behold came the diagnosis of atrial fibrillation.

Randy went through several tests and was placed on Warfarin with INRs regularly taken. Nutritionally, he had to avoid sources of vitamin K (and I love blueberries and kale!), take good care of his health and not miss any medical appointments! This is just like my dad, who has chronic AFib. They shared stories about their health. How’s your INR? Pretty darn good, what about you? Well, I could lower it a point or two…! My dad actually does his own INR testing.

Related imageKale, A Superfood!

Dad “can’t eat” kale, but Randy sure missed eating kale, and loves it now (not true!) Back to the summer of the “heart scare”… I remember Randy wearing a holter monitor strapped to his chest. The day it went off with a loud bang (not true!); and it goes in a plastic baggie for return to the cardiologist we were at an outdoor wedding!

It was determined Randy would need to have a heart restart. OMG. He had a cardioversion procedure performed on September 20, 2013. I will never forget waiting and waiting at Iowa Lutheran Hospital trying to read but not being able to focus on the words in front of me. Finally the nurse came out (the procedure really wasn’t that long) and said I could see him. I couldn’t wait any longer!

I quickly entered the procedure room and saw Randy the love of my life lying on the table groggily repeating “Did she do it?” “Did she do it?” Dr. Clark, replied, “What are you talking about?” Randy muttered again with some sort of humor (funny man) in his voice, “Did she push the button?”

button

No I did not push that button. But if he continues to make fun of my bowling posture…and my scores…we might reconsider...

The bottom line of this blog is to be sure to pay attention to signs and symptoms of your health and listen to your body.  People’s bodies do a good share of expressing to its’ owner it’s need and desire to be in balance.  When your body is out of balance, it will tell you and people who care will notice. Listen to it. Listen to others. Do what you need to do to restore your sense of balance. I can offer recommendations!

Thankfully the cardioversion worked and Randy’s been back in the rhythm ever since. There’s no rhyme nor reason why his heart decided to act up. Frankly, I love to check Randy’s pulse and his heart is really strong! He loves to brag that his blood pressure is perfect (a quote from the nurse!) The beater is good to go for a long, long time! Rehabilitation was successful!

I could also blog about my son Nick and his blood pressure problems (thankfully much improved; he’s on long-term medication); and my mom’s blood pressure health which is good but needs watching. Or I could blog about Randy’s dad’s serious heart condition (which ultimately took his life while asleep in 2005). But instead I’m going to end with saying to my readers (including my husband of course!),  “I love you with all my writing heart. Please take great care of  your systems and yourself!”

Pistachios

Eating Tip of the Day: Pistachios are Heart Healthy.

Let me know what I might do to help with educating your client; or better yet, let me educate others about your client by writing his or her story!

I love to help with litigation regarding work and disability and believe it’s helpful to tell your clients story. I also believe in exercising, eating right and balancing! Give me a call at 515-282-7753 and let’s discuss your case. I offer free initial consultation!

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Working on a Case Involving Work & Disability? I’m Here to Help You…Depose & More

I can help you in a number of ways with any case you’re working on that involves work and disability, whether it be medical malpractice, personal injury or workers’ compensation or other litigation. One way I can help you is to design creative questions skillfully as part of the discovery process allowing a much deeper inquiry into the person’s “world of work”.

My goal is to inspire you even more to do what you love to do…ask questions, right!? And to be the best attorney you can be, double right!!

Depo

I’m sure questions you ask a deponent include those to: determine the nature of previous jobs; amount of money making; for whom s/he was working; why employment was terminated; and what qualifications and experience s/he had for the type of work s/he was doing [when injured].

You also question what work the individual has done, if any since the disabling condition, describing job duties; and determining previous employers and earnings.  Questions posed to encourage a deponent to detail what it is s/he can and cannot do are important, too.

These are all good questions from you yes, and critical of course (although kinda boring in my humble opinion!). Would it help you to have at your fingertips specifically designed questions (based on evidence to date) at deposition that will produce a much deeper inquiry into the person’s vocational background? I get excited when I think of sooo many other questions you could ask that really get into the meat of the matter!

meatAnd I don’t eat meat!

I’ve heard 90% of malpractice cases are settled before trial, and the deposition often is the turning point in those cases. I’d like to help you prepare questions that will lead to responses offering plenty of material for you to work on your case. My aim is to help you skin that cat in many ways and be ready for the most likely responses from your witness. I hope my help with your deposing techniques is valuable pre-trial as well as if the transcript is used for court.

Object

Plus, please keep in mind, I can definitely help you in more ways to better understand the individual’s disabling condition. A life care plan is perfect for that! Expert witness and testimony services are available as well.

I am here to help you help your client!

Call me ~ Amy Botkin at  515-282-7753 or shoot me an email message at vocresources@gmail.com and I’ll get back to you. Thank you for reading! Good luck with your legal work.

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

How to Handle Conflicting Medical Opinions? With a Forensic Approach, of Course!

Upon referral of a vocational case, I review a variety of  medical data (i.e., treating physician reports, FCE’s, IME’s) and/or psychological data (i.e., psychometric testing, psychological evaluations, psychiatric evaluations) found within the file. During a workers’ compensation litigated claim (for that matter, all claims that involve work and disability), it is important to understand the individual’s medical situation based on the data contained in these records.

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Good thing I’ve had medical records training…and enjoy the review!

If a file has more than one Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE), I can expect the reports to have conflicting opinions. Commonly one physical therapist will recommend the claimant has the physical capacity for light work, while the other says medium work. Often the therapists also have conflicting information about the individual’s maximal (or lack of) effort put forth during the evaluation.

I Did My Best

The claimant needs to say honestly and sincerely  “I Did My Best!”

Assisting the individual (who used to be referred to as the injured worker, the patient, the claimant, the testee, the evaluee, and potentially the client)  in returning to work following an injury is a central role in my specialty of placement. This involves finding the best occupational match within the individual’s own labor market. A person’s “doctor imposed restrictions based on an FCE” should not direct the provision of placement services.

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With conflicting opinions from professionals, what data should I rely upon to perform a beneficial service?

To resolve discrepancies I first ask myself, why is an FCE being used for this specific claim? The utility of this type of scientifically based evaluation, the training sources, performance methods, test protocols and standards to measure them are numerous. Professionals may have opposing views for their own reasons but I must be able to articulate their reports into vocationally-relevant terminology and tell a story about meaningful and gainful work.

WORK

I love writing reports rich with detail about a person’s world of work! And I love reading medical data rich in detail about a person’s world of functioning!

A functional capacity evaluation is actually a term with various definitions, purposes and constructs. A functional capacity evaluation (FCE) evaluates an individual’s capacity to perform work activities related to his or her participation in employment. It seems that in essence, by having a functional capacity evaluation a person is likely to be put in a position of deciding whether he or she is willing to return to work. This is unfortunate.

From what I know, there are approximately 10 different types of commonly used functional capacity evaluations. Here in Iowa, I am most familiar with FCEs with names like the Isernhagen Work System, the Blankenship, Matheson, WorkWell and X-RTS. The reliability or validity of any system is somewhat irrelevant to me because the testing is already entered into “evidence.” What is relevant to me is whether or not I comprehend the results and recommendations contained within the evaluation. Sometimes I can, sometimes I cannot. I always use a “Does This Make Sense?” test!

Image result for conflictingIt’s up to the dualing physical therapists to make their best points during litigation, I’m not in that ring!

I feel fortunate of connections with several physical therapists allowing insight into their clinical practice. Recently I attended a continuing education program that helped me understand various approaches to FCE’s and I am rather fascinated with the X-RTS Lever Arm.

Thinking Cap

The X-RTS Lever Arm passes my make sense test!

So within the context of my vocational consulting work while cautiously putting any judgment aside (which seems hard when I know I know certain things), I analyze and compare each FCE while considering the testing results.

I analyze and compare FCEs! Whoa!

I note whether the FCE report is readable and user friendly. I assess if I understand terminology and methods used, how long testing was administered, what actually was administered, the claimant’s behavior during the test, and how the evaluator came to his or her conclusions. Does it make sense? I look for descriptors regarding the results of testing in relation to real jobs. Are there concrete and realistic recommendations regarding (strengths and weaknesses) in relation to performing physical demand levels of various work situations? I definitely look for the goals and expectations for the evaluation, and whether maximum and consistent effort was made by the evaluee. Comments on the suitability of the testee’s future employment options along with the evaluator’s observations are valuable!

Thinking Cap

Continuing on with analyzing and comparing FCEs! Whoa! It’s important to note what body part/extremity the therapist focuses on in relation to what body part/extremity was injured. For example in one report, the therapist discussed lower extremity activities, when in fact it was an upper extremity injury. If the report cites examples or uses too many percentages, it’s important to understand how the therapist justifies examples. I’m familiar with a therapist who changes the percentages of the same examples from report to report. That doesn’t make sense to me.

I try really hard to make sense of most things and situations!  No sense

If I am able to square an FCE in my mind after careful and prolonged study, is it possible the claimant could do the same? That is fortunate!

How does the claimant (not actually a patient at this time in a workers’ compensation case when referred for an FCE by their own attorney; with an additional FCE visit to a different physical therapist by the defense attorney) perceive discrepancies in the results? Sadly in my eyes, the FCE often gets “interpreted” through an attorney. The repeated pattern of thinking of one’s functional capacity as “poor” does not help me to help anyone return to work.

If there is an IME (Independent Medical Exam), it may seem more geared towards one of the FCEs. Regardless, I try to comprehend all reports, noting the one I understand the most. I’m not so sure that an IME is really a “fresh set of eyes” in the workers’ compensation cases I’ve recently worked on. This topic is another blog in itself.

Putting both, or multiple opinions in a vocational report and making use of other documentation to support my ultimate and final opinion is a great idea, however I have to be cautious to not put myself in a role that isn’t mine (making a medical opinion).

If I am able to provide a doctor (ideally the most recent treating occupational health or rehabilitation doctor) detailed information directly related to a specific occupation or line of work and any resources that could help understand how such work is performed in a smart, safe and effective manner, many benefits arise.

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Clean your lenses!

There’s a clearer understanding of the vocational rehabilitation process and with agreement from all involved, there’s a higher likelihood one could see a successful common outcome (return to work). This certainly helps solidify my vocational opinion and make recommendations. Yet, this type of opportunity is not frequently available (certainly is though with a life care plan!). Please know I always search for a way to best express my vocational opinion.

In my reports, I document what medical records I’ve reviewed and then use the actual words from the individual during an interview describing how s/he details their physical impairment.  Often I hear verbatim what one doctor wrote in their restrictions. The evaluee will respond to my open questioning about any physical limitations (sometimes after the evaluee refers to his/her doctor’s letter) and read or have it memorized saying: “no lifting over 20 pounds, avoid twisting, bending, stooping, sit and stand as needed.”  No sense

What do those words really mean in real life? The individual doesn’t seem to know either. Ask an employer if they have a job that involves no lifting over 20 pounds, no twisting, no bending, no stooping, no this, no that …. and that’s not talking their language!

The evaluee who responds to me in this fashion (using verbatim restrictive words) needs future vocational counseling. Vocational counseling (which may or may not be provided depending on the nature of the litigation) helps to gain a clearer understanding of how the person’s medical situation has changed their daily living (especially in the context of their own world of work). This understanding leads to the ability to articulate the individual’s capacity for success to others (family, friends, job interviewers, etc.).

Please keep in mind, the term “restriction” is not conducive to a successful job search. The ability to explain who you are and what you can do from a functional perspective to help a business make or save money is what is conducive to a successful job search. Restrictions should never be the focus of job placement. Skills are!

Counseling is especially important if the individual is searching for a job, requiring job seeking skills training on how to or (how not to) disclose. The personal attributes gained from training helps the placement process move forward with common goals avoiding getting stuck within a few words that don’t apply to working reality.

WORKWhile staying true to my convictions and firm beliefs that a person can work if the person wants to work and has the capacity to work, I need to understand the dichotomy between science and clinical practice is more imagined than real.

If healthcare professionals submit conflicting reports on the same individual, I need to be able to resolve inconsistencies to better understand and appreciate the opinions offered. It is not my role to determine which opinion is correct. It is my role to utilize available information, provide a beneficial service, and make a sound vocational opinion regarding the individual’s strengths and weakness in relation to work capacity and employability.

Matching People With Their World of WorkIt’s rewarding when I can clarify a person’s sense of their own world of work.

I strive to extend the value of FCEs in the litigation process. I am trained not only in understanding a client’s functional abilities at work, but at home and at leisure. (Need a life care plan?) Together my knowledge with those of other experts, contributes to decisions about the economic losses, or damages, for which the person receives compensation.

Give me a call 515-282-7753 and let me get to work for you!

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Working on a Litigated Case Involving Work & Disability? A Job Analysis Can Help!

Are you working on a litigated case involving work and disability? A Job Analysis can help in many ways!  A job analysis involves the process of gathering, evaluating, and recording objective data about a specific job. It evaluates what an employee does, why the work is done, how the work is done, results of the work, the skills, knowledge, and abilities required to perform the work, and the context in which the work fits into the organizational structure.

JA

A Job Analysis is Helpful in Many Ways

A complete analysis involves visiting the job site to witness the job being performed and interviewing supervisors and employees about the accuracy of existing job descriptions. Consulting with management and incumbents of the job along with digital video recording allows for a critical analysis of the parameters of performance pertaining to physical demands.

Once the job analysis describing the critical duties of the job, an evaluation of the work environment is completed, and a report written and presented, there will be a greater understanding of the essential functions of the job.

JA Matrix

This understanding allows me as a vocational expert to make recommendations for reasonable accommodations and to testify to the efforts of the employer to provide reasonable accommodations.

Need help with a litigated case involving disability and work? I help with plaintiff/claimant and defense cases. Call me, Amy E. Botkin, today for a free 15 minute consultation.

Vocational Resources Plus, LLC * lcpresourcesplus.com * 515-282-7753  * VocResources@msn.com

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Nice Talking to You Randy! Never Stop Using Your Soft Skills!

I just got off the phone after a gentleman named Randy called my business inquiring on my needs regarding this website. I responded after listening to the purpose for his call… I’m it as far as who’s in charge of this site! He had good verbal communication skills, so our discussion continued. It was unusual I answered this call, as I was right in the middle of something, but I liked Randy’s soft skills!

After explaining the meaning of lcpresourcesplus.com being mainly a creative writing blog about work and life; written solely by me as a relationship builder, he asked what I do.

My response “As a life care planner and a vocational rehabilitation counselor I help people with acquired disabilities move on with their lives”, Randy thought that was a good concept. And he thanked me for my work!

Our phone conversation continued,  and I explained I write for the people I mentioned and also for the attorneys who help the people.

Image result for attorney love cartoonRandy said, yes attorneys need the love too.

Randy told me he has a couple of attorney buddies who are not happy with their legal  careers. He told me they’re frustrated, stressed out, and quite depressed.

I realize many attorneys are disenchanted with their work and are in remarkably poor mental health, having serious problems with depression. If I can help you through vocational counseling, please, please let me know.

Randy, please have your buddies fill this questionnaire out!  It’s titled Why Do You Do Your Work? The results of this assessment may help decipher what is missing from their current work.

Please take a serious look at your work, gather all you can about why you do it. Understand your personality, build up your choices and make an informed decision. Do you want to be happy and productive where you’re at in your legal career or do you need to make a move?

Image result for attorney love cartoon

Happiness is….being a lawyer and loving it!

Then stick with your decision, get help and support in every way you can, and most importantly enjoy life while you’re here on Earth and prepare your way to what lies ahead.

I hope reading my blogs will help you unwind a tad and you also find useful information that can help you to help your clients.

Let me know what I can do to help you on a case or even with your practice. It may help to take some time out and assess your career. Any recommendations you agree with and changes that’ll transpire will only serve you better, as long as you trust your instincts and never give up on yourself!

Vocational Resources Plus, LLC * lcpresourcesplus.com * 515-282-7753  VocResources@msn.com

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

I Retired from Writing for Women’s Edition…Skills Gain!

[Repost 10/22/2015] I retired from my stint as a freelance magazine story writer for Women’s Edition after enjoying monthly job assignments from January 2012 through September 2013. Shortly afterwards, the magazine’s owner and founder left our Des Moines, market. They continue to publish from Omaha, Lincoln, Denver and Colorado Springs.

I gained many skills, read on after reviewing this brief summary of the business owners and associates of companies throughout Des Moines, Iowa I interviewed about their business and wrote creative stories:

Summary of My Writing Stories for Women’s Edition

By Amy E. Botkin

  • LuGene Isleman & Heidi Wilson “Your Center for Wellness, Rejuvenation and Body Balancing”, for a Healthy Living Story
  • PrimeSource Mortgage “Meet the Ladies that Walk You Home” a Business Style Story
  • Attorney Diane Dornberg “Passionate About Helping Families”, for an Out & About Story
  • Burgin Drapery Workroom “We Do It All!”, a Business Style Story
  • Things On Douglas An eccletic blend of new and consigned furniture and home décor”, for an Out & About Story
  • Douglas Dental, “A Dental Clinic With Experienced Staff At Your Service”, for a Healthy Living Story
  • Dr. BJ Foust, Foust Family Dental Care, for an Out & About Story
  • Noelle Carroll at Simply Organized, “Organizing Clutter and Chaos”, for a Business Style story
  • Dale Carnegie, “Turning Potential Into Performance”, for a Business Style Story
  • The Funky Zebras an Out and About story
  • Anderson Animal Hospital, We Care for ALL Critters” a Business Style Story
  • Barb Diment Law Office for A Business Style story
  • Dan Bishop owner of A-1 Concrete Leveling for a Business Style Story
  • Ann Hartz, CPA for a View From The Top story
  • Applebee’s, a Healthy Living Story

After participating in a Murder Mystery back in 2001, with my good friend, I had an incredible story to tell. But I didn’t do it! I swear. I was too busy. Not me! I’m the maid here, how could I? Maybe I’ll post it someday! [Another update as of 10/22/2015, I actually just found pictures from that evening  (going through pictures & stuff)! As sneaky killer suspects, we were particularly odd looking….I may scan 1 or 2 pictures in.]

I will find that story I wrote and link it……have you ever participated in a Murder Mystery? It was fun to travel to Bellevue, Iowa for this work assignment, spend the night in a beautiful mansion, be involved in a murder, write and get paid! I remember meeting a white cat with secrets near the river…..

I love to read and I love to write!

I hope to write for publications in the future. At this time, with my business rocking (tons of reading, research and report writing); bloggin’; the need to study, research and write out responses to discussion questions, prepare term papers and projects for my current rehabilitation counseling forensic coursework through GWU….it would be way too beastly wild for me to do it all. [Update from original post Oct 7, 2013…Yep! Completed that goal!…no not becoming a wild beast, but receiving a post graduate degree!]

Wild Beast Amy

Seriously however, I benefited in numerous ways during this time of writing for publication. My interview, research, creativity and writing skills improved! I met many professionals in my community and made great business connections. Interviewing business owners provided me indepth insight into self employment and small business ownership. (I knew quite a bit however, being in this same boat since 1999!)

Plus, I requested a recommendation letter, which Kelcie Warren kindly wrote. Thank you Kelcie!

I personally give thumbs up recommendations for several of the  businesses from other than my angle of writing their story because I became a customer of their establishment/business (if you need your driveway raised, Dan Bishop owner of A-1 Concrete Leveling does an excellent job); became a business connection of their services…and yes even gathered new friendships! (Ann Hartz, CPA, she and I were in boot camp together!)

Thumbs Up:  Attorney Diane Dornberg, The Funky Zebras, Anderson Animal Hospital, Dan Bishop, Ann Hartz, CPA, Dale Carnegie and of course Applebee’s!

I’ll likely add to this blog in the near future, because of an important part of my retirement…….asking for a reference letter…..from the publisher of Women’s Edition…it’s in the mail to me! And you can find the reference letter on my website over yonder under documents for download.

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.