Rebuilding Lives After Catastrophic Injuries
Jodi Loud, Traumatic Brain Injury Consultant
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Registered Nurse
- Certified Case Manager, Certified Life Care Planner, Certified Medicare Set-aside Consultant, Injury Management Facilitator
- Years with The Hartford: 8
- Years in the industry: More than 20
No one ever wants to have to confront a traumatic brain or spinal cord injury, but for Jodi Loud, employee of The Hartford, it's a full-time job.
Jodi is a consultant in The Hartford's Major Case Medical Unit for workers' compensation claims who specializes in quadriplegic, paraplegic and traumatic brain injuries suffered on the job. She travels to injured workers around the country with a single objective: to ensure they get the best care and outcomes.
It's not a job for the faint-hearted. Jodi's work begins in the acute emergency phase when the worker's injuries are still being evaluated, the potential for recovery is unknown and emotions among family members are running high. She meets with the family, helps them understand the injury and the medical needs, and offers centers of medical excellence, often in another part of the country, where the injured can receive the best care.
"To be able to navigate this highly emotional time is amazing," says Jodi's manager, Assistant Vice President Mary O'Connor. But Jodi is unfazed.
"Talking about the injury and the outcomes isn't difficult," Jodi says. "I find it easy to come in and simplify a difficult condition, and there's usually a way I can relate to the worker and their family. My struggles are relatable to them in some way. We find common ground. I'll talk to the injured worker and ask how are you coping? What's your biggest concern?"
Jodi is a natural fit for her position on both professional and personal levels. She’s a registered nurse and has been managing workers' compensation cases and claims for almost 20 years. She has a deep medical understanding of brain and spinal cord injuries.
But it’s Jodi's personal experience that allows her to connect and empathize with her clients in a profound way. Her father has a major brain injury, she has a close friend with a spinal cord/brain injury and her 17-year-old daughter was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a chronic disease that damages the nerves in the spinal cord and brain.
So when Jodi talks with a family about adjusting to their new normal, she speaks from experience and with credibility.
"She's very real," Mary says. "She doesn't sugarcoat or tell the family what they want to hear. She tells them what they need to know so they can make a realistic life plan. She helps them deal and adjust in an empathetic way."
Once the injured workers have recovered to the fullest extent possible, Jodi is also involved in resolving their claims – always with two objectives in mind: 1) reaching a monetary settlement that’ll allow the worker to live independently of the workers’ compensation system, and 2) helping the worker return to full productivity in work and in life. Her involvement on each case can range from two to five years, and she’s available after the case closes to answer questions, respond to concerns and offer resources.
She tells of a recent case with a 35-year-old worker whose wife and two children lived in Guatemala.
"He fell off the back of a truck and had a massive brain injury," Jodi says. "We didn't think he'd survive. But he woke up several months later and we sent him to an inpatient center for brain injury. He got to the point where he was walking, talking, smiling and interacting. I asked if he wanted to return to his family. The healthcare facility advised against it, and I asked why not. Let's facilitate it if we can."
The Hartford hired an international nurse who coordinated the worker's care while in transition to Guatemala. Once he was home, Jodi coordinated the settlement of his claim and arranged payments, and his wife received video training on his medical care requirements.
"We had goals, timelines and objectives, and an engaged plaintiff attorney who wanted the best for his client," Jodi says.
Fortunately, they also had Jodi on the case.
"I treat each injured worker as a member of my own family, helping them through a catastrophic event,” she says.