Head injury, concussion clinic showing results
Islanders with a concussion or mild brain injury are getting better care through the provincial head injury support and recovery clinic.
Located at the Harbourside Health Centre in Summerside, the clinic has helped 28 Islanders since it opened in July. It is an initiative of Trauma PEI and provides collaborative support to primary care providers in caring for patients with a concussion or mild brain injury.
“As we recognize Brain Injury Awareness Week this week (March 12-16), it is a reminder to us all that we can all help reduce the impact of injuries to ourselves and to others in our communities,” said Health and Wellness Minister Robert Mitchell.
“Trauma PEI, primary care, and collaborative initiatives such as the new clinic are increasing awareness about how injuries can be prevented and providing better, more comprehensive care to Islanders at every stage of a head injury.”
Under the leadership of Health PEI’s medical director of trauma, the head injury support and recovery clinic’s care team includes a primary care nurse, as well as collaborating physicians and nurse practitioners who work at the health centre. The clinic serves patients by:
- providing education, consultative services and reference materials;
- providing in-person appointments and telephone consultations to patients regarding the "how-to" of the stepwise head injury recovery program; and
- supporting patients when they are no longer able to participate in contact sport due to risk.
“While most concussions can resolve in as little as a week or two, some can be difficult and take a lot longer to recover from,” said April Mills, Trauma PEI provincial coordinator. “We now know more and speak more about concussions and mild brain injuries, along with their long-term effects on a person’s health and well being. Having the proper information, clinical protocols and resources in place, such as the new clinic, are all critical to our ability to provide our patients with the best possible road to recovery.”
About Trauma PEI:
Launched in 2016, Trauma PEI provides leadership in injury prevention, education, clinical care, research, and the continuous development and improvement of the trauma system. The program:
- works with health care providers, community partners, and schools to deliver the best possible care to Islanders with a brain injury; and
- supports emergency department staff across the province in carrying out medical simulations that include traumatic brain injury; reviewing vital skills in managing brain injury increases team efficiency and highlights new research to the acute clinical staff.
Last year a provincial trauma registry was established – and a coordinator hired – to collect data and carry out programming.
In 2017, more than 1,200 Islanders went to an emergency department with a head injury:
- children and teens are the largest demographic for isolated head injuries being admitted to hospital, with sport and falls being the most prevalent reasons for injury; and
- seniors (over 75 years of age) are the second-largest demographic presenting with head injury (falls are cited as the most common reason for head injury).
Middle-aged men are more likely to suffer from serious brain bleeds and skull fractures, of which approximately 32 percent of injuries are acquired while participating in sport without a helmet. Motor vehicle crashes are the most prominent reason for brain injury in this age group.
Islanders can help protect themselves from a brain injury by:
- operating motor vehicles safely and not being distracted by mobile devices and texting;
- wearing the proper head gear for sports such as hockey, football and biking;
- taking action to prevent falls among older adults in their homes and communities;
- ensuring that play areas are clear of hazards; and
- following proper safety procedures when taking part in organized sports and other activities.