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

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Are you working on a litigated case involving work and disability? If so, I believe a job analysis can help you and your client, and in many ways!  A job analysis involves the process of gathering and recording objective data about a specific job.  

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Capturing what the job is all about helps to evaluate 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.

And, as an analyzing kinda person, I’ll find direct connections to ways of the trade, and possibly record direct comments from incumbents or a worker who knows what’s going on!

JA

A Job Analysis is helpful in many ways. Plus they’re fun to perform!

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. (And that’s a story in itself!) It sure can be an interesting tour and communication experience! 

For me to find out what actually takes place on a pertinent day to day basis (without being there obviously because I have my own job to do), consulting with management and incumbents of the job along with digital video recording (right!), if helpful, allows for a critical analysis of the parameters of performance at a work place, including common physical demands of duties of a job. And trust me, a video can produce some humor too when’s it’s needed  at work! 

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Once the job analysis describing the critical duties of the job, an evaluation of the work environment is completed, and a report written is prepared and presented, there, hopefully will be a greater understanding of the essential functions of the job. And to each person the job can be functionally different. Right yes, so it just depends on how one goes about doing it!

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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! I am not one sided

Contact me, Amy E. Botkin, to discuss your client’s claim.

Vocational Resources Plus, LLC * lcpresourcesplus.com * 515-778-0634  * amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.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.

Disability Employment Awareness Month & A Story About Pumpkin Man

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Feel the October days fly through the surrounding air! The gorgeous trees, the beautiful and interesting as always weather, and the bounty upon us is incredible. Image result for pumpkin bread

Had any pumpkin bread yet? Yummy!

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2019  where you’ll find resources about National Disability Employment Awareness Month and  a historical timeline of the ADA.  These sites are knowledge-filled and helpful to a student studying for the CRC exam!

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Happy 29th ADA!  The birthday was officially celebrated in July, but I always like to extend partytime!

“Signed into law in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is civil rights legislation that works to increase the inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of community life, including employment. At the U.S. Department of Labor, we are committed to delivering on the promise of the ADA, not only for today’s workers with disabilities, but also future generations.”

The ADA plays an integral role in the live’s of many people. It gives people with disabilities the right to file lawsuits in Federal court and obtain Federal court orders to stop ADA violations. Any vocationally relevant factor entwined with the person’s civil rights, will describe or amend a violation.

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Ready to go, willing to do, and happy to help!

Hiring me to perform the research specific to the worker and the situation, prepare an individualized needs assessment and vocational report, and then present in front of a judge or jury makes sense.

If your case involves the ADA, I’m fully interested in applying my knowledge of the law as it relates to employment and help you help your client!  Here’s a great newspaper story of Pumpkin Man, a hard worker who dares to live his dream!

FYI: Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits private employers, State and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. The ADA covers employers with 15 or more employees, including State and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies and to labor organizations. https://www.ada.gov/ada_title_I.htm

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Pumpkin Man, Oh Pumpkin Man! Just as Tasty as Gingerbread Man!

Please contact me at 515-778-0634 or email amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com and we can set up a time to talk. I can describe to you a recent case I had involving an employment discrimination lawsuit.  Thank you for reading!

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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.

 

Randy and His Perpetual Flip Off! Need an Expert on Your Case Involving Work & Disability?

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The evening before my dad’s funeral in May 2016, my husband Randy walked our dog Bella.  Holding his cell phone in one hand while talking to my mother about his part in the service, the other hand held the leash. Bella’s a big Aussie girl, weighing in around 60 pounds;

and from what I hear, a huge raccoon made an appearance near a sewer opening down the street just as they were walking by. This appearance led Bella to lurch towards the coon…pulling hard on the fingers grasped around the leash, and breaking husband’s finger in the process. Ouch.

Early the next morning, we had to hit the road to make the trip to Iowa Falls and, well, experience what would transpire during my father’s service…and beyond in this world for those of us who loved him and enjoyed his company.  

Here’s one of my favorite photos of my dad!

Randy never saw a doctor for his finger injury. I wish he would’ve though. I performed my version of physical therapy and Healing Touch on him, but to this day…well, Randy has a broken middle finger that sticks up in such a way it resembles the image below!

Get my drift?

The funeral service was nice, and my mom did a great job choosing the readings and what to sing! Randy read the first reading, my sister Julie the second and Father Tony the Gospel, of course! I was a communion minister for dad’s friends!

Many of dad’s church friends were involved in the Mass Mass and he would’ve loved that! In fact, one of his buddies told me my dad was like a brother to him. At that moment, my heart grew stronger knowing my dad was very special to another person. Clearly, that was God’s presence, and one of many experiences I feel during life!

One good thing was my dad was cremated, so no handling of a heavy casket with a broken finger!  Afterwards, we had a nice lunch that my dad would’ve enjoyed as well. Love You Dad!

So, to this day, Randy’s finger exhibits a perpetual flip off! Pretty cool huh?  When certain people, like a friend he hasn’t seen in a while, questions why he’s flipping them off, instead of going into detail, he just says “I dunno”.  Just recently, he came home from his job and remarked one of his fellow teachers wanted to know why he flipped her off.  He smiled to her and replied ~

 dunno!

A great memory from October of 2016 was of Randy driving into and out of the parking area of the Kansas City Chief’s Arrowhead stadium.  Soo many people, staffers, and cops too! Well, they all got the flip off! But, no one noticed, which to me made it quite comical! 

It’s a “I do know” factual concept for me to tap into emotional intelligence when I’m being deposed or testifying (I believe it’s okay to flip someone off under a table or in your mind as a form of mental exercise!!). So contact me, my Attorney Reader, if you need an expert and I’ll offer my complete time and attention  as an consultant and an educator for your case.

Keep me in mind as I also offer consulting services to help attorneys come up with good questions to help you prepare for a deposition and/or cross examination in a courtroom on cases involving work and disability.

I’m Here to Help You Help Your Client!

The best way to contact me is by email at  amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.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.

 

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

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Upon referral of a vocational case, I review a variety of  medical data (for example: treating physician reports, Functional Capacity Evaluations, Independent Medical Evaluations) and/or psychological data (for example: psychometric testing, psychological evaluations, psychiatric evaluations) found within the file. During a workers’ compensation litigated claim, and for that matter, any claim that involves work and disability, it’s important for me 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 contains more than one FCE and/or IME, I can expect the reports to have conflicting opinions. For example, one physical therapist will recommend the claimant has the physical capacity for light work, while the other physical therapist 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 can be referred to as the injured worker, the claimant, the patient, 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. A person’s knowledge, skills, interests and abilities should!

Image result for opinionWith conflicting opinions from professionals, what data should I rely upon to perform a beneficial service?

I understand conflicting opinions are influenced by components of context and can be derived from subjective views. 

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. And it can be challenging to do this if I don’t understand the conclusion of the FCE report to begin with!

WORK

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

A functional capacity evaluation is actually a term with various definitions, purposes and constructs. The purpose is to  evaluate 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 an unfortunate position of deciding whether he or she is willing to return to work.  If willing, there’s a way. If not, there’s no way.

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 to Me? 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. I attend continuing education programs, and recall one that helped me understand various approaches to FCE’s specifically 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 and should be included.

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  would be  fortunate, especially if the therapist offers good recommendations that make sense!

How does the evaluee, when not truly the therapists’  patient when referred for an FCE by their own work comp attorney; with an additional FCE visit to a different physical therapist by the defense attorney  (that makes 2 different reports prepared by 2 different therapists) 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 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 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 (which is making a medical opinion which I can’t do).

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 the doctor 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 reasonable recommendations. Yet, this type of opportunity is not frequently available (it is for me to though through processing 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 (or deposition review) 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!

Rehabilitation 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 disability or any functional limitation. 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.

Thank you for reading this long post! I’m here to help attorneys like you help your client. Contact me at amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com  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.

Free Initial Consultation on Personal Injury Litigation, Give Me a Call!

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Free is always my favorite Word of the Day! What about you? Does free rank right up there? If you’re not aware, Zombie Burger makes excellent milk shakes, and what’s really special is on your birthday, your shake is free!  Image result for free

The chocolate wedding cake shake is my favorite although it’s really “only a chocolate shake” because Zombie’s wedding cake shake is made with a vanilla base. But, I like to pretend it’s a unique shake made by my only daughter who works there to help me celebrate my birthday, my wedding anniversary,  and my work anniversary all mixed together deliciously!Image result for free

Image result for chocolate milkshakeSpoil me, don’t spill me! 

Actually when you think about it, I’m a basic, simple customer considering how many different shakes are available!

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You and I, my Attorney Reader, Image result for chocolate milkshakecan meet and I can offer you free initial consultation to discuss your litigated case and how I might help you help your client!

Free Initial Consultation on Personal Injury Litigation!

I may not foot the bill for your meal (let it be known we can equally share in the cost), but I will offer you a free steel straw to drink your shake from! Trust me, any shake tastes better through a steel straw rather than plastic.  

If it’s not your birthday on the day we meet, I will buy you a shake of your choice! And during sips, we can talk about details, how you see my work as helpful, my bill rate, and other business policies and procedures pertinent to involving me on your client’s case. 

If you have questions on a case that have anything to do with work and disability, you need solid and detailed information to base your decisions. I am here to help you design questions and build your case.

Image result for jalapenos cartoonKeep in mind when we meet (if at Zombie in the East Village), I may even try to motivate you to try my favorite sandwich with extra jalapeno just the way Arin knows I like it ordered!  And I can introduce you personally to the front hosts, a fine, upstanding couple! 

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Excuse me, I’m losing a bit of focus between thinking about eating ice cream and hot peppers with zombies, and I’m hungry! So at this point in my post, I want you to know I can also help your client by designing a life care plan.  

A plan helps determine lifetime needs and costs of care to address serious injury resulting in permanent disability while highlighting the medical recovery process, current problems and potential complications.

Life care planning that encompasses forensic vocational rehabilitation is a unique concept and I am able to provide this service.  As a certified life care planner, I guarantee I will comb through the healthcare and vocational complexities of your case,  prepare the most comprehensive plan I can for your client, and come prepared to educate a jury should it go to trial.  

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Contact me at 515-778-0634 or email me at    amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com

 Let’s talk briefly and set up a time to meet!

I’ve uploaded an updated resume along with a sample plan, and brochures on my co-companies, Vocational Resources Plus and Life Care Planning Resources Plus, which you can access at the links on my website. Any questions are welcome!

By the way, Zombie Burgers’ knowledgeable staff  is used to working with various dietary preferences and restrictions, so let your voice be heard (comes naturally doesn’t it?!) when you require specific food and drink or you have interest in requesting something new! I am a vegetarian; and I tend to order the same food and drink (boring I know) when I eat out at my restaurants! But that doesn’t mean I’m not a creative person!

Most importantly, always be sure to leave good servers a good $$$ tip $$$.  Word of the day: douceur   pronounced:  doo sur    a gratuity; tip. 

Here’s my counseling “tip” for the day:  Practice yoga at home, it’s free!  I hope to hear from you soon and look forward to helping you help your client. Thank you for reading my 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.

Need to Retain a Vocational Expert? I’m Here to Help! Forensic Services

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As a forensic rehabilitation consultant, I could be available as your next retained expert!  rp_Professional-Expert-Witness1.jpg

My unique consulting services help identify insights into your litigated case while first-hand testimony helps others to understand it.  In fact, listing me as an expert may spark movement in the litigation process.

I’m Here to Help You Help Your Client! And, the sooner I can help you, the better! 

When you involve an expert like me on certain cases early in the process, you’ll be in a good position knowing you have a professional on hand for the duration of your case.

My companies Vocational Resources Plus LLC and Life Care Planning Resources Plus LLC lovingly co-exist. I’ll celebrate the beginning of 20 years in private practice on September 15, 2019 (and they say it’s my birthday too, yeah, I’m going to have a good time)! Although I’ve been in the field of vocational rehabilitation from the start….that’d be 1999, forensic rehabilitation and life care planning are both new specialties within my career!

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In celebratory style, I’m reaching out to attorneys who are passionate about helping clients.

Here on this website you’ll find various links to my writings about serving in various capacities within my field, such as my focus on life care planning (with a vocational rehabilitation component), vocational consulting, placement, and serving as an expert witness.  I like to blog about why my work is important and to help people identify how to use my services. Further, it’s fun to write and I like to showcase my credibility, methodology and expertise. (Read my disclaimer!)

LightbulbWant to help your clients even more? Consider tapping into my creative resources!

My analysis and opinion of how I can help your case will be straightforward, honest and grounded in rehabilitation. As such, this may or may not support your case. I can usually determine whether or not I can help your case within the first few hours of research, and will limit such fees based on our agreement.

Please keep in mind that permission to use my name, or in any way indicate that I am an expert witness or consultant for your side of a case, either informally or formally with other parties, is not granted until a retainer is secured. Contact me for information on retaining me!

FootballIf I have to pass on a case, I’ll do what I can to offer recommendations.

So, give me a call at at 515-778-0634 or email me at amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com   and let’s start a conversation. I promise to value your time!

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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.

Here to Help The Passionate Attorney Help Your Client ~ Life Care Planning Services

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Along with vocational consulting services, I offer you life care planning services. Life Care Planning Services are valuable to passionate attorneys such as yourself: One who works to your fullest potential for your clients; One who truly cares about your client; and One who strives to maximize the best outcome for your client. A Life Care Plan will help you help your client.

cartoon lawyer  Are You a Passionate Attorney?  Image result for woman attorney cartoon

Comprehensive Life Care Planning Services focus on the individual who sustained a personal or catastrophic injury, has a congenital disease or acquired illness, or suffered a traumatic event that altered his or her life leaving them with a disabling condition. The individual and his or her family is in need of planning how to live with these ongoing life changes.

Image result for passionate attorney cartoon   Are You a Passionate Attorney? Image result for group of attorneys cartoon

A Life Care Plan outlines an individualized holistic program that documents your client’s specific healthcare needs and a projection of what it costs for that care over their lifetime. An economist reviews the plan to determine the present value of the costs.

Even more, a Life Care Plan  helps prevent medical complications, enhances community and society participation, considers quality of life issues, and assists in maintaining emotional and psychological health. 

The person’s life now has important healthcare needs and significant costs are associated with those needs that will last throughout their lifetime. How can you, the person’s caring and passionate attorney prove this, or show this to others, and why would you need to do so?

A Life Care Plan is helpful in many ways, here are three,

  • to facilitate decision making relating to the individual’s health care, long-term care, and special needs; and those costs related;
  • to identify and obtain good care in the individual’s community, whether at home, an assisted living facility, or, if necessary, a nursing home; and those costs related;
  • to help move the litigation process forward, and ultimately to settle or win a case justifiably at the highest level possible using real data!

A Life Care Plan involves a systematic process (I do that part!) of developing a “road map” of the care, goods and services the person will need to ensure optimal health, safety and life satisfaction. A plan also highlights what it is the person will need to restore or improve their life activities to their maximum potential.

Keep in mind that while most Life Care Plans are developed for people who have suffered a traumatic injury, Life Care Plans are increasingly used for older adults with chronic conditions to anticipate their health and financial needs in later years. Do you have a client in this elite category? If so, be prepared for more future that focuses on healthy living! (Hint: Get a Life Care Plan!)

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The standard definition of a Life Care Plan is a “dynamic document based upon published standards of practice, comprehensive assessment, data analysis and research, which provides an organized, concise plan for current and future needs with associated costs for individuals who have experienced catastrophic injury or have chronic health care needs. (IALCP – International Academy of Life Care Planners, 2003. Definition established during the 2000 Life Care Planning Summit.)

Please visit Dr. Deutsch’s webpage for much more information on Life Care Planning. Dr. Deutsch was on my training team!

CLCP Certificate expires 2-28-21
Life Care Plans
are developed by Certified Life Care Planners (CLCP), who are professionals in rehabilitation with advanced knowledge of specific disabilities, established treatment care resources and a consistent objective approach toward the practical and functional elements involved in providing the treatment of catastrophic injuries and diseases. 

Communication and negotiation skills are essential (so true) while working with patients, families, caregivers and treatment teams. Keep on pursuing my website, which is mainly a relationship building, and read my blog writings. Please consider how Life Care Planning Services will help you help your clients.

Contact me ~ Amy Botkin, MS, CRC, CLCP ~ today at amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com  so we can start discussing your case.

I’m here to help you help your client!

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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.

The Proof is in the Pudding ~ Try Avocado Chocolate & a Life Care Plan for Your Client!

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Consider how a Life Care Plan can help your litigated case, especially when the proof is in the pudding.  The ‘proof’ here is a verb meaning ‘test’ and a noun meaning ‘the evidence that demonstrates a truth’ as in a mathematical or legal proof.  To know if a plan has succeeded, consider the true value or quality of it, as seen when it is experienced, tried, or put to use.

PuddingInterested in a life care plan for your client?

One recent case where I prepared a life care plan helped attain a $3.43 million settlement and judgment in a catastrophic personal injury case. Another plan I wrote helped to reach a $1.5 million award in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

I repeat, interested in a life care plan for your client?

Pudding

As a certified life care planner I will prepare a reasonable plan and I will expend whatever time needed to do a fully competent job. As an added benefit, how about including vocational rehabilitation consulting in a plan? That’s where my forte’ lies!

A plan can take upwards of six months to prepare, depending on the case. By taking the story directly from the patient with input from the family, my subsequent reports and expert testimony become viewed as genuine in front of a judge or a jury. The goal is to zero in on the specific needs and costs of the individual’s current healthcare needs and consider those into the future.

With your input or agreement with my report to be sure we understand everything, I’ll help you be well equipped to persuade others about the bottom line of your case, which can be significant! When preparing a plan, I carefully consider the client’s life and how it has been impacted, while remaining cognizant of safety and rehabilitation.

Third time here, interested in a life care plan for your client?   Pudding

I can help you to help your client!  The proof of the pudding for a business is also what customers say about it. To find out what customers say about my work in the areas of life care planning, as well as my professional work in other areas, including my writing capabilities, I’d be happy to provide references.  Pudding

The proof of the pudding for a plan is also what transpires when it is followed by the individual for whom it was written. You’ll find I truly care about what I do and can provide references who will attest to my ethics, research capabilities and the value that I can bring to a case involving work and disability.Money Centerpiece

A Life Care Plan can truly become the centerpiece of your client’s claim!

Because each case is unique, to help identify the level of service for your case, a 15 minute complementary consultation can be arranged. Subsequently, a preliminary assessment of the time-frame a plan could take to prepare can then be offered that helps outline the projected costs which can be anywhere from ~40 – 80+ hours, not including expert testimony preparation and witness time.

Keep in mind the necessity to schedule an in person meeting and follow-up visits with the individual and his/her family. Contacts involving his/her treating physician and other members of the healthcare team are made as well over the course of preparing a plan. You can find a simple sample plan on my website under documents for download.

Pudding

Now, “the proof of the pudding is in the eating” means that you don’t really know your dessert has come out right until you taste it. Seriously, try this pudding! It’s yummy and healthy! Easy to make too! Avocado

Avocado Chocolate Pudding

Prep Time: 2 minutes Total Time: 5 minutes Yield 2-3 services Serving Size ½ cup

  • 2 ripe medium avocados, peeled and chopped
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ cup milk (regular or almond milk, coconut, etc.)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Blend all ingredients until smooth in a blender, food processor or using a hand held beater or mixer. Serve immediately or chill first. Eat with a lovely spoon!

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Contact me, Amy E. Botkin at 515-282-7753 for a life care plan because I have studied it, experienced it and continue on my journey growing as an expert in my field. An expert is someone who has enough knowledge to help others confidently! And, darn it all, I like it and I’m good at it (with a humble Arr Arr)!  If you’d like more information, let me know!

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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.

Emotional Intelligence and Expert Testimony…Stay in the Ship!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I want to touch a bit more on emotional intelligence from a previous blog on the subject of EQ. Basically, emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive emotions in yourself and sense the emotional needs in others. I study this interpersonal skill and certainly am not an emotional master, but I constantly challenge myself to control any “miffed” (annoying) emotions that are connected to stressful situations.

Miffed?  Mad? Upset? Irritated?  Jittery?  Soft?  Antsy?  Optimistic?  All the Above?!?!

For example, when I’ve been on the witness stand in court (serving as an expert in my field of vocational rehabilitation), I’ve experienced verbal assaults on my work, my credentials, and even my vocation (don’t even go there buddy…), by the opposing attorney. This of course is stressful!

However, because I know myself well and have thee highest regard for what I do for a living, I am able to calmly turn mean and rude statements into mush (metaphorically in my mind where it matters!) You’d be surprised how effective a concerned look and a calm statement or simple facial expression saying, “I hope you realize how that sounded” can be.

 

Mush you say??? Yuck. Get Out of Here. No Way Would I Ever Eat That.

Seriously though, emotions can turn into enemies if they get in your way during certain times in your life (like on the witness stand!). I like to think of emotions as waves. A storm has rushed in, the winds are fierce, and the lake is churning up white caps. THESE ARE THE EMOTIONS – the things that get us disturbed, all riled up and self-absorbed.  We liked the calm…

Emotional waves get in your way!

Now think, the storm will blow over and the lake will calm down. During the slowdown of the storm, the waves are just big, and in fact can be quite beautiful. THESE ARE YOUR THOUGHTS – and now you connect with the outside world….and to other people easily.

Calm those waves down!

Now think of a peaceful lake.  Become aware of your own feelings and realize, hey ~ this is what makes me special, my stuff really is helpful and I am good at stilling the waves. Calm yourself down right when the lake’s current does too. Now there is no distinction between yourself and the environment. You become a part of it. Everything clicks. The world is safe….and you are alive! (yet potentially still on that witness stand!)

“I know that I know that I know!”

Understanding the effects of wind, waves and currents is not an easy subject to master. Waves (humans who may be intent on verbal attacks) behave differently under a large variety of different conditions.

So to be familiar with all, or at least rough water conditions, a professional seaman (or how about an expert witness such as myself?!), uses knowledge and skills to confidently control the ship through to the calm following the storm. That’s what it takes to be a good expert witness. I’m here to help you help your client. 

In another blog, I continue with another element of emotional intelligence ~ EI ~ stay in the ship!

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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.

Emotions and Changing Your Mind…Don’t Lose Your Keys & Don’t Delay Contacting Me For Help on Your Litigated Case!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

I’ve mentioned in past blogs that I’d write more about my brother. We referred to him as: (and his name has to be said really fast) Steven John Patrick Henry Murphy Fred George John Prochnow. Yep! And this is all I’m writing about my brother at this time because I chose to change my mind on this week’s writing!

Change is inevitable. Change is constant.  Change is what makes me go around and around! And therefore, this post is about emotions and relationships.

During my master’s level coursework at Drake University, I started studying emotions and continually learn how to apply what I’m learning about emotions in my own life, especially when it comes to relationships. 

Over the years, I’ve come to realize and accept that I’m pretty adept at identifying a person’s emotions within situations and contexts that I understand. What to do with that knowledge is what matters, especially as an empathetic rehabilitation counselor like me, with abilities to sense people’s emotions, and imagine what s/he might be thinking or feeling, and consider how I can help (if needed to help).

Randy and me at home after a photo shot at church ~ Fall 2011 (The above was a photo taken by a son, the actual picture in our church directory looks like we’re related to Frankenstein!)

As a complex creature each human is driven by emotions, beliefs and various points of view that most likely do not coincide perfectly (if at all) with yours (Now, Now Randy).

It can be difficult to understand all the emotions sailing around another person’s head, especially within a cultural context and from situation to situation. So to make it simple, let’s just consider basic emotions that could be experienced within relationships.

Basic emotions

Emoticons

Anger

Happiness

Fear

Sadness

Surprise

Disgust

On top of basic emotions and beliefs, you or the other person may also be in any state of HALT – being Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. (I am so happy I learned this acronym way back as a new mom!) If so (may want to first address any state of HALT ASAP: hungry: eat; angry: cool down; lonely: become involved in the world around you; tired: rest!), there will be a need to be more sensitive to any choices or decisions you make with that person.

 Figure this sweetie out?  

If bursts of emotion become too much to handle, what can you do? My way of answering this question involves taking a look at how people in love chose to culminate and sustain a healthy relationship .

You can sense how they appreciate each other. They freely accept their differences. They both are confident, responsible and believe in trust. They simply allow each other to be their own person. In my eyes, that’s the key….to the front door (if you want in).

Keys to the Front and to the Back Door

And to answer the question regarding how to handle “emotional outbursts” rests in changing your mind.  Choose to judge the situation or circumstance in exactly the opposite direction. The key to the back door (if you want out) is to change the way you think and feel about yourself and others. It’ll work, trust me!

Just be sure you’re not letting your feelings turn into facts….that will never happen.

 Always Keep Both Keys on Hand And DON’T LOSE EM!

If a persons’ emotions are significantly part of your case, I can provide the person’s true story which explain to others how emotions are shaped by experiences and why emotions matter.  I’ve had my share of emotional roller coasters and know how (and often why) emotions convey information and generate action.  Would it be a good legal strategy to include what your client’s thoughts and feelings are revealing?

Thank you for reading! Please let me know how I can help you help your clients.

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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.