Educate to rehabilitate? The evaluation of education as an intervention for concussion treatment

Educate to rehabilitate? The evaluation of education as an intervention for concussion treatment

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BY: Sabreena Moosa
Supervisor: Dr. Mark Bayley

SURP Winner article

 

Concussions affect more than 150,000 people in the sole province of Ontario every year(1). Such findings often lead to questions about how much people really know about this form of mild traumatic brain injury and what its treatment plan constitutes. This summer I had the privilege to work under the supervision of Dr. Mark Bayley at the Hull Ellis Concussion and Research Clinic at Toronto Rehab Institute.

There is some current research related to finding the best approach to treating concussion symptoms and improving recovery trajectory, however, early education remains the most critical intervention post-concussion(2,3). My project involved looking at the education provided at the Hull Ellis Concussion and Research Clinic. Patients recruited at this rapid access concussion clinic completed an education questionnaire at week 1 and week 8 of injury. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the education provided to concussion patients, factors predicting their receptiveness to education and aspects which can be modified to standardize physicians’ approach to providing patients with more knowledge about recovery and symptom management.

Preliminary results have aided in identifying effects of various knowledge on patients’ anxiety and symptom-reporting, as well as questions which require rephrasing. Some factors might also be affecting prior knowledge about concussion, which could then be used to individualize physicians’ approach to concussion treatment and ensure maximum effectiveness. This is especially important as most past studies have focused on athletes and youths, thus often involved preventative education provided in case of injury and was aimed to increase successful identification of a concussion. Looking at the education provided to concussion patients of the general population would be a step in the long journey towards identifying areas of education that directly affect recovery.

Working on this project provided me with many exciting opportunities such as interacting with patients and analyzing the raw data collected. This not only taught me about research study design and implementation, but also critical statistical, data interpretation, communication and problem-solving skills. Partaking in the entire progress of a project helped me realize how common challenges, unexpected results and limitations are in research. It is normal to experience recruitment difficulties and unexpected results, and that it is important to take them in stride and try again, while learning more in the process. I am grateful for the support and mentorship provided to me at the lab, which taught me about clinical research and provided me with lifelong skills. More than anything else, this summer project taught me the importance of varying individual skills in a research team and the effort that goes into refining a project before the finished product comes about as a published paper.

With the findings of this project, I hope that a standardized clinical approach to providing education for treatment of concussion can be personalized to improve patients’ recovery trajectory. Perhaps some findings can also be generalized to other disorders in order to seek a more effective approach to education when used as an intervention in any healthcare setting.

 

  1. Langer L, Levy C, Bayley M. Increasing Incidence of Concussion: True Epidemic or Better Recognition? J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2019 Jun 25;
  2. Borich MR, Cheung KL, Jones P, Khramova V, Gavrailoff L, Boyd LA, et al. Concussion: current concepts in diagnosis and management. J Neurol Phys Ther JNPT. 2013 Sep;37(3):133–9.
  3. Consensus statement on concussion in sport—the 5th international conference on concussion in sport held in Berlin, October 2016 | British Journal of Sports Medicine [Internet]. [cited 2019 Jul 31]. Available from: https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/51/11/838.info