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What is Medical Impairment?
Medical impairment is the
- physical loss of or disturbance to any body part or system, and
- the resultant functional loss.
Physical loss is the loss of, or disturbance to, any body part or system. Examples of physical loss include discomfort, pain and poor prognosis.
Functional loss is measured by reference to an individual's performance efficiency compared with that of an average, healthy person of the same age and sex. This comparison is made using defined vital functions in the vital functions' tables in GARP. The vital functions identified are:
- Cardiorespiratory Impairment,
- Hypertension and Non-Cardiac Vascular Conditions,
- Impairment of Spine and Limbs,
- Emotional and Behavioural,
- Neurological Impairment,
- Gastrointestinal Impairment,
- Ear, Nose and Throat Impairment,
- Visual Impairment,
- Renal and Urinary Tract Function,
- Sexual Function, Reproduction, and Breasts,
- Skin Impairment, and
- Endocrine and Haemopoietic Impairment.
Each functional loss associated with an accepted condition is identified and rated individually.
Medical impairment rating
Medical impairment is measured in [glossary:impairment points:], out of a maximum rating of 100. On this scale zero corresponds to nil or negligible impairment from accepted conditions, and 100 points corresponds to death. The impairment points are percentages of the impairment of the whole person. The final impairment rating is a combination of all ratings from all accepted conditions.
Assessment of impairment not possible
If it is not possible to assess the impairment of an accepted condition that has previously been assessed using an earlier edition of GARP, then the impairment rating that was last given for the accepted condition would be used. If the impairment had not been previously assessed, and it is impossible to assess the impairment using GARP, then a best estimate must be made using whatever medical and other evidence is available concerning the extent of the impairment.
Examples of when assessment of impairment is not possible:
- a veteran puts in an Application for Increase (AFI) and then dies. As we cannot arrange a medical examination for this veteran GARP will need to be applied as best as possible.
- a veteran with sensori-neural hearing loss and rotator cuff syndrome develops a severe dementia. They will be unable to answer any questions about their condition. In this case the Department will make do with the best information that is available.