Concussions: Education Is Key for Diagnosis and Treatment

Written on August 13, 2013 at 2:00 pm , by

As a pediatric nurse practitioner in the Brain Injury Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, I work daily with patients and families dealing with concussion. This is an invisible injury that can’t be seen on a CAT scan or MRI. and often goes unnoticed. Kids may not know they have a concussion but do know they “don’t feel right.” Education is key for diagnosis and treatment, and the informative article “What’s Your Concussion IQ?” covers all of the questions I discuss with children and their families. Sometimes just by explaining what the injury is helps eliminate fear of the unknown.

But in my clinical experience one of the most difficult things to manage is school. Kids go five days a week, seven hours a day. And that doesn’t include the time to complete homework. Children often struggle with school requirements while recovering from concussion. It can be stressful and can increase feelings of anxiety/worry for patients and parents.

It is essential that everyone, including school personnel, understand that although the child may look well, he or she may not feel well. During recovery, kids should be given extra time to complete assignments as well as a decrease in overall academic responsibilities. If they are able, they should return to school after a few days of rest to avoid feelings of isolation and a disrupted sleep pattern. Parents and administrators should also consider a modified school schedule during recovery, so it’s key that there’s good communication between both sides.

 

Michelle Parker, RN, MS, PNP, Program Manager, Brain Injury Center, Neurosurgery, Boston Children’s Hospital