By: 29 April 2021
Reach launches new services for head trauma cases

Neuro rehab specialist Reach Personal Injury Services has launched a new service to spot early warning signs in head trauma cases.

The service, Headlight, is designed to fill a gap in available assessment and treatment programmes that has meant that warning signs of future health problems for people who have suffered mild head trauma could be missed, leading to longer-term health issues.

The low-cost, tech-based triage system means that insurers and lawyers can act quickly to ensure the best outcome for the claimant and reduce the risk of cases escalating over long periods due to lack of early intervention and treatment.

The launch of Headlight follows a successful pilot of the system, working with insurer Aviva, held earlier this year. Experience from the pilot informed fine-tuning of the assessment process, as well as ensuring that the appropriate range of clinical tools and onward referral options were included.

“There was a real gap for this kind of service, and we’ve had positive feedback from insurers and lawyers who are very keen to see it filled,” said Heather Batey, managing director of Reach, which was bought by portfolio management company handl Group in December last year.

Batey continued: “It’s been scientifically established that the earlier head trauma cases receive assistance, the less likely it is that ongoing symptoms will escalate into longer term difficulties requiring clinical management. Headlight allows claims handlers and lawyers to take appropriate action at a very early stage in the claim.”

“Someone may have a minor bump to the head, rather than suffering traumatic brain injury in a more serious incident, but that bump may still have caused symptoms that are not immediately apparent. If these are not spotted early and go untreated, they can lead to longer-term difficulties that could be avoided with early intervention.”

A real example that brings the benefits of Headlight to life is that of a male Aviva customer who sustained a head trauma in October last year after being involved in a road traffic accident while cycling home from work. He attended hospital and remained under observation as an in-patient for two days.

He returned to work as a teacher after three weeks but was experiencing difficulty managing his role, and had not resumed his previous leisure activities. 

A Headlight screening assessment carried out in January highlighted ongoing cognitive fatigue, possible executive skills deficits, anxiety, sleep disturbance, and emotional adjustment difficulties.

As a result, recommendations were made for a full post-concussion syndrome (PCS) assessment to identify cognitive rehabilitation needs, and for counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy to address the trauma issues. Five 1.5 hour remote rehabilitation sessions were also recommended—these are currently in progress and are already having a very positive outcome.

Sue Reeve, rehabilitation claims manager at Aviva, said: “The Headlight pilot shows real potential in getting injured people the correct and specifically targeted treatment they need at the earliest opportunity.”