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Glossary of Health Care Professionals

Behavioural Therapist – Behavioural therapists work with patients to modify behaviours by replacing them with alternate behaviours. This technique is used to treat aggression, substance abuse, anger management, eating disorders, phobias and anxiety.

Case Manager – Case managers work with patients to determine their rehabilitation and medical needs and coordinate services and treatment following an injury.

Chiropractor – Chiropractors diagnose and treat patients who have issues with their muscular, nervous, or skeletal systems. They do this through adjustments of muscles, joints and the spine. They will develop a treatment plan and recommend exercises to help improve such issues.

Clinical Psychologist – Clinical Psychologists work with clients who are mentally distressed and counsel those who need to adapt or cope with changes in their lives following an injury or traumatic event. Psychologists will regularly meet with clients to listen to their psychological issues and counsel them to cope with or overcome the issues.

Dentist – Dentists can treat injuries and damage to the mouth and teeth. They perform x-rays and examine patients to determine if any corrective surgery is required. They may need to remove or replace teeth and/or apply braces and retainers.

Doctor – Approximately 1/3 of doctors are general physicians. General Physicians diagnose and treat a variety of diseases, injuries, and illnesses.  In certain situations they will refer a patient to a specialist, such as a psychiatrist, surgeon or physical therapist.

The other two thirds are specialists. There are approximately thirty-five major fields of specialization with more than fifty different subspecialties. 

Life Care Planner – Life care planners work with injured patients to determine their rehabilitation, medical and attendant care needs for the future. Planners will need to consult with other health care professionals to determine the patient’s exact needs.

Massage Therapist (Registered) – Massage Therapists treat soft tissue and muscles to relax tension and ease pain.

Neurologist – Neurologists will examine and assess a patient’s cognitive function, cranial nerves, strength, sensation, reflexes, coordination and gait. Based on the results, the neurologist may refer a patient to a physical therapist, prescribe medication or recommend surgery.

Neuropsychiatrist – Neuropsychiatrists work with patients to cope with and/or improve mental, emotional and behavioural disorders. They administer tests to help determine a patient’s condition and they will keep medical records. They also prescribe treatment and medication or direct a patient to an appropriate health care provider.

Neuropsychologist – Neuropsychologists work with brain injury trauma patients to assess and treat the injury. They examine cognitive functions – including behavioural, emotional social and functional state of patients.

Nurse (Registered) – Nurses keep records of medical history for patients, perform diagnostic tests, administer treatments & medication and help an injured patient understand what their post-injury needs will be (eg. physiotherapy, massage therapy, etc).

Occupational Therapist – Occupational Therapists work with injured patients to regain their independence and improve their mental, physical and emotional state. This is done through various activities, exercises and computer programs.  Occupational Therapists also teach patients how to use adaptive equipment (eg. Wheelchairs).

Optometrist – Optometrists will examine a patient’s eyes & vision to diagnose any vision problems as a result of an injury. They may prescribe eyeglasses, contact lenses or laser eye surgery to correct or treat the damage.

Orthopedic Surgeon – Orthopedic Surgeons examine and perform surgery on the musculoskeletal system. They treat fractures, broken bones, injuries and diseases. They also perform musculoskeletal reconstruction.

Personal Support Worker (PSW) – Personal support workers, or PSWs, provide in-home care or care at a retirement or nursing home. They provide everyday assistance with activities such as: serving meals, washing clothes, bathing and dressing the patient.

Physiatrist – Physiatrists are doctors who specialize in non-surgical, physical medicine and rehabilitation. They treat injuries involving muscles, nerves and/or bones including injuries such as brain injury, amputation, spinal cord injury and pain. 

Physical Therapist (Physiotherapist) – Physical Therapists treat patients who need to restore physical functioning, improve mobility and ease pain. They aim to improve a patient’s health and fitness. They will measure a patient’s abilities and develop a plan for improvement through exercise and physical activities. They also teach patients how to use prosthetic limbs, wheelchairs, crutches and walkers.

Psychiatrist – Psychiatrists assess, examine and treat mental illness and disorders. They do this through psychoanalysis, psychotherapy and medication (for chemical imbalances). They meet with patients to discuss issues and needs.

Psychologist – Psychologists regularly meet with patients to assess and treat mental and emotional issues. They help injured patients adjust and adapt to life after an injury.

Psychotherapist – Psychotherapists work with patients who have mental disorders and behavioral problems. They treat patients using supportive talk therapy techniques. Psychotherapists may develop treatment plans to help patients overcome acute or chronic difficulties. 

Plastic Surgeon – Plastic surgeons are doctors who surgically repair or reconstruct damaged body parts. If parts are irreparable, they may replace them with prosthetic parts.

Recreational Therapist – Recreational therapists provide treatment through recreational activities such as arts, sports, games, music, dance and many other activities. These activities are used to improve emotional and physical state and improve independence. Recreational therapists observe behaviours and abilities and keep medical records of their patients.

Registered Dietitian – Registered Dietitians provide advice regarding diet, food and nutrition. They assist clients with healthy eating plans and translate the science of nutrition into healthy food choices.

Rehabilitation (Counsellor) – Rehabilitation counsellors counsel patients who have been injured to help improve independence and chances of employment. They will assess a patients needs and create a programme including vocational training, counselling, behaviour management and job placement. These counsellors maintain relationships with community groups and schools.

Rehabilitation Therapist – Rehab Therapists provide treatment services and recreation activities for catastrophically injured clients. They will often work from treatment plans provided by occupational therapists, physiotherapists, family physicians and psychologists.

Social Worker – Social workers help patients to deal with insurance, applying for a Disability Certificate and the Application for Determination of Catastrophic Impairment. Clinical social workers provide psychosocial and emotional counselling therapy to individuals and families using a variety of treatment modalities.

Speech Language Pathologist – Speech-language pathologists (speech therapists) treat people with difficulties such as: speech, language, cognitive communication, voice and swallowing.

Other Terms

Accident Benefits – Benefits in the form of money or assistance provided to persons injured in a motor vehicle accident, regardless of who is at fault. Types of accident benefits include non-earner, income replacement, caregiver, attendant care, medical, rehabilitation, education, damage to clothing, visitation, housekeeping and home maintenance, funeral, etc.

Adjuster – A person who investigates and/or adjudicates insurance claims on behalf of an insurance company.

Attendant Care – A type of accident benefit an injured person receives to pay for care/assistance in his or her daily living. Assistance may take the form of cooking, cleaning, helping the injured person get dressed or supervising the injured person. The cost of providing attendant care may be paid by the insurance company to the person providing the care, whether it is a health care professional or a family member.

Catastrophic Impairment – The most serious of personal injuries. Examples include: quadriplegia; paraplegia; amputation of arm or leg or impairment causing the total and permanent loss of use of an arm or leg; total loss of vision in both eyes; injuries resulting in an impairment of 55% or more of the whole person; brain impairment measured by a score of 9 or less on the Glasgow Coma Scale; marked or extreme mental or behavioural impairment; and severe disability from brain injury measured using the Glasgow Outcome Scale. A person having a catastrophic impairment becomes entitled to maximums of $1,000,000.00 for medical/rehabilitation needs, plus $1,000,000.00 for attendant care plus housekeeping expenses, payable over the lifetime of the injured person.

Damages – The losses the plaintiff has suffered because of the defendant’s conduct. These losses can take many forms including compensation for pain and suffering; loss of past, present and future income; health care costs; loss of social or familial relationships; etc.

Deductible – In lawsuits arising from a motor vehicle accident, after an award for compensation for pain and suffering is established in court or during the settlement negotiations, the award may in some case be reduced by statutory amount.

Defendant – A person and/or corporation that is being sued by a Plaintiff. Examples of defendant corporations include an insurance company, a leasing company, a municipality, a tavern, a property owner, a hospital, etc. Most defendants in personal injury lawsuits are insured. A defendant’s insurer will usually appoint a lawyer to act on behalf of the defendant.

Glasgow Coma Scale – A medical test used to determine brain impairment resulting from an accident. It is based on a scale of 3 to 15, with a lower score often indicating a more serious injury. A score of 9 or less usually results in the person being deemed to have sustained a catastrophic impairment.

Health Care Expenses – A category of tort entitlement that includes goods and services for medical expenses, rehabilitation, and attendant care.

“Incurred” Expense – New definition of “incurred” requires the claimant to pay or promise to pay the expense and requires that the service provider provide the service in the course of the employment, occupation or profession, in which he/she would have normally been engaged, but for the accident, or that the person has suffered an economic loss in order to provide the service.

Insurer Examination/Section 44 Assessment – The insurer may appoint health care professionals of their choosing, to perform assessments in order to determine whether to pay a benefit.

Limitation Period – When a person suffers an injury, the law imposes a time limit in which to issue a Statement of Claim. If one fails to issue the Claim within the time allotted, all rights to compensation are lost.

Minor Injury – One or more of a sprain, strain, whiplash associated disorder, contusion, abrasion, laceration or subluxation and any clinically associated sequelae.

Optional Benefit – Additional Benefits purchased by the Insured or in some cases a family member of the Insured.

Personal Injury Law – The area of law that involves persons who have been injured in an accident. Accidents include motor vehicle, slip and fall, medical malpractice, boating, assault, etc.

Pre-Claim Examination – The accident benefit insurer may request an assessment by health care professionals of its choosing, before you even apply for benefits. The injured person has the right to refuse this assessment and may do so without penalty.

Plaintiff – A person who has sued another person, corporation or insurer (the “defendant”).

Statement of Claim – A document that begins a lawsuit and claims “damages” from one or more defendants based on the defendant’s acts or omissions causing loss, injury or harm to the Plaintiff. A Statement of Claim is generally prepared by the Plaintiff’s lawyer.

Statement of Defence – A defendant’s response to the Statement of Claim. It is usually prepared by the defendant’s lawyer. Often, it will deny the allegations made in the Statement of Claim.

Threshold – A level of impairment or disfigurement that a Plaintiff must prove in order to recover certain compensation in a motor vehicle tort claim. This means that the injury must be either a permanent, serious disfigurement (like a scar) or a permanent, serious impairment of an important physical, mental or psychological function. There are many court decisions that help a lawyer specializing in personal injury law to advise you about whether your injuries “meet the threshold”.

Tort – An area of law in which one party sues and seeks monetary compensation (money) for injuries and losses suffered because of the fault or negligence of another party. This contrasts with accident benefits (no-fault benefits) where benefits are paid without reference to fault.

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