2022 - Year in Review

Novel concussion clinic takes holistic approach to injury It has been the hot-button issue across a number of sports for several years, and now RNSH has launched a first-of-its-kind clinic concussion.

The clinic operates weekly for young adults and paediatric patients and aims to educate and rehabilitate patients who have been diagnosed with concussion in one of NSLHD’s emergency departments but still have ongoing symptoms 10 days on from the initial injury. Concussion Clinical Nurse Specialist at RNSH Vicki Evans (Roach) AM said the new clinic would aim to not just improve symptoms, but also help patients understand concussion and prevent longer term complications. “It is really important to understand the potential ramifications that could occur if a concussion is not taken seriously,” she said. “Symptoms of a concussion should resolve within seven to 10 days, but this multidisciplinary clinic will see patients who are still experiencing symptoms after 10 days.” The multidisciplinary clinic, composed of adult and paediatric neurologists, a

clinical nurse specialist and a neuropsychologist, takes a holistic approach, reviewing patients’ cognitive function, psychological wellbeing and associated post-concussive symptoms. Depending on the outcome they may recommend various lifestyle modifications and suggest appropriate referral pathways to ensure optimal recovery and an efficient return to productivity. “It was important for them to understand the mood disorders that often accompany lingering concussions and which are sometimes downplayed or not well recognised when managing patients with this type of head injury,” she said. “Sitting out one game is much better than missing the whole season. “We are not the ‘fun police’ – we want people to play sport, but respect the rules and sportsmanship of the game, use helmets and mouth guards, strengthen your neck muscles,

warm up before the game, practise drills, report the injury, and look out for your mates too. “Don’t ignore or hide it – getting a second concussion on top of one that has not been resolved will make things worse, which is why we established this clinic: to ensure people get the advice they need and cut through all the conflicting information they may receive. “It’s also important to remember concussions can happen anywhere – not just in sport.” A paediatric clinic treats school- aged children under 16 who obtain their concussion through any method, while an under 25s clinic operates for those who have a sports-related concussion. The patient must have been seen in one of the NSLHD’s emergency departments and diagnosed with concussion. If symptoms persevere for greater than 10 days from initial injury, a general practitioner will be able to refer the patient to the concussion clinic.

Neuropsychologist Vince Oxenham, Clinical Nurse Specialist Vicki Evans (Roach) AM, Paediatric Neurologist Dr Gary Browne and Neurologist Dr Miriam Priglinger-Coorey

36 NSLHD 2022 Year in Review

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