New program promotes brain injury prevention
Prince Edward Island’s new trauma program is helping Islanders and health care providers better identify, prevent, and manage brain injuries.
Over the past two years, 2,030 Islanders went to an emergency department citing a head injury as one of the reasons for their visit. To address this growing need, Trauma PEI was launched in 2016 to work with health care providers, community partners and schools to deliver the best possible care to Islanders with a brain injury.
“Whether you are a senior, a concerned parent, a youth, a teacher or a coach, we can all help reduce the impact of injuries in our communities,” said Health and Wellness Minister Robert Henderson. “Trauma PEI, in collaboration with a variety of community partners, is increasing awareness about how injuries can be prevented and helping provide better, more comprehensive care at every stage of an injury.”
March 13-19 is Brain Awareness Week, a global campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research.
Trauma PEI provides leadership in injury prevention, education, clinical care, research, and the continuous development and improvement of the trauma system. A provincial Trauma Registry was also established – and a coordinator hired – to collect data and carry out programming.
“As emergency department physicians, we regularly care for Islanders with a wide array of brain injuries,” said Dr. Scott Cameron, medical director of Trauma PEI. “It’s important that we take the time to raise awareness and re-emphasize the importance of brain injuries with both Islanders and their health care providers. Trauma PEI helps link education with research and prevention so that we can reduce the prevalence and, where possible, the severity of a brain injury.”
Trauma PEI is also working with emergency department staff across the province to carry 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.
To address the prevalence of brain injury acquired while participating in sport, Trauma PEI is also delivering the Brain Waves Program© powered by Parachute Canada. The program teaches Island students in grades 4 through 6 how to prevent head injuries through fun and interactive teambuilding. Trauma PEI promotes the program with Sport PEI – along with Health Canada’s online concussion application – to young Island athletes across all sport disciplines.
For more information, visit Health Canada’s Online Concussion Application.
The most common type of brain injury is mild traumatic brain injury or concussion, most often resolves in two weeks.
Falls are the number one cause (48%) of head injury in those over 70 years of age and under the age of one (89%). Motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of head injury for those 35 to 45 years of age, and sport is the activity during which a head injury was acquired in Islanders 15 to 25 years old.
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 headgear 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.
Senior Communications Officer