Navigation Links
Social workers can help patients recover from mild traumatic brain injuries
Date:5/6/2014

More than a million people are treated for mild traumatic brain injuries in U.S. hospitals and emergency rooms each year. Yet few receive appropriate psychological and social follow-up care that can make the difference in whether or not they fully recover.

A University of Washington researcher has found that a 20-minute conversation with a social worker has the potential to significantly reduce the functional decline of those diagnosed with a mild traumatic brain injury.

The research is published in the April issue of Brain Injury.

Megan Moore in the UW's School of Social Work is training social workers in emergency departments to provide education and resources to patients with mild traumatic brain injuries to help them deal with symptoms and the recovery process.

"Social workers are masters-level trained clinicians who are already embedded in emergency room treatment teams," Moore said. "The goal of my work is to provide them with specialized training on mild traumatic brain injuries to help bridge the psychological and social aspects of treatment with medical care."

Traumatic brain injury occurs when the head is hit by an outside force, causing the brain to move rapidly within the skull, altering consciousness and damaging the nervous system. Anyone who experiences a fall, car or bike accident, sports head injury or an assault, may experience a traumatic brain injury, but most are considered mild.

While a serious traumatic brain injury is usually obvious, mild brain injuries are often harder to detect, and can cause unexplained physical, cognitive, behavioral or emotional symptoms. Typical symptoms nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headache, blurred vision, fatigue and sleep disturbances are common in many other diagnoses, or resolve quickly, and patients don't always seek medical care.

If a patient does go to the emergency room to be evaluated, he or she may go home thinking they're physically okay, but then continue to have trouble with memory, depression, or completing once-routine tasks. That makes it all the more important that a social worker completes an evaluation while the patient is still in the emergency room, Moore said.

"It's a critical intervention point not only for the patients with mild traumatic brain injuries, but also for patients with other types of medical and psychosocial problems," she said.

Moore joined the UW in the fall of 2012. While conducting her doctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley, she designed a study that is currently running at San Francisco General Hospital, a Level 1 Trauma Center. There, medical staff identify patients with mild traumatic brain injuries and refer them to social workers, who provide education, coping strategies, resources and a brief alcohol intervention screening. Social workers later follow up with a phone call to see how the patient is doing.

Moore's initial study showed that an intervention lasting less than 20 minutes significantly reduced brain injury patients' alcohol use and prevented functional decline. (A second, randomized trial is now under way.)

Moore said social workers already conduct evaluations and provide resources for patients in hospitals and emergency rooms, and would need only a small amount of training on recognizing and dealing with mild traumatic brain injuries. They could provide patients with education about symptoms and the recovery process, as well as coping strategies such as getting enough rest and avoiding alcohol and drugs (which increase the risk of re-injury). Social workers also link patients to support groups, counselors, substance abuse services and appropriate medical care.

Moore is especially concerned with thousands of soldiers returning from the battlefield with such brain injuries. The Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center estimated that more than 220,000 U.S. service members were diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries between 2000 and the third quarter of 2011; 77 percent were considered mild. Such cases may not be detected or treated immediately because of more serious battlefield injuries taking precedence, and once the patients return home they may not report to a hospital for follow-up care.

"Soldiers are coming back with different issues than civilian populations that are injured in a car accident," Moore said. "Social workers definitely need to know the unique issues of soldiers coming back from the battlefield."


'/>"/>

Contact: Megan Moore
mm99@uw.edu
206-616-2862
University of Washington
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Social ties have mixed impact on encouraging healthy behaviors in low-income areas
2. Social Factors May Affect Lifespan More Than Race, Location
3. University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work announces partnership with MD Anderson
4. Alcohol abuse may be cause, rather than effect of social isolation, poor grades among teens
5. Avatars may help children with social anxiety overcome fears
6. Sleep Apnea in Teens Linked to Social, Behavioral Woes
7. Social-class discrimination contributes to poorer health
8. Teen Drinkers May Feel Like Social Outcasts: Study
9. New Anthropology and Archaeology Resources Published at Sciences Social Network
10. Social Smoking Announces New Product Line of E-Cig Liquids
11. Social Media Strategies and Solutions — Straight from the Experts
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Austin residents seeking Mohs surgery services, can now ... and to Dr. Russell Peckham for medical and surgical dermatology. , Dr. Dorsey brings ... The selective fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery completed by Dr. Dorsey was under the ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Dr. Calvin Johnson has dedicated ... has implemented orthobiologic procedures as a method for treating his patients. The procedure ... doctors to perform the treatment. Orthobiologics are substances that orthopaedic surgeons use to ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... June 19, 2016 is World Sickle Cell Observance Day. In an effort to ... treatments, Serenity Recovery Center of Marne, Michigan, has issued a pain management ... (SCD) is a disorder of the red blood cells, which can cause episodes of ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Comfort Keepers® of San Diego, CA is excited ... To Recovery® program to drive cancer patients to and from their cancer treatments. ... highest quality of life and ongoing independence. Getting to and from medical treatments ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... Puradigm® & Innovative Solutions today announced ... and processing operations at its production facility, and opened its first two dispensaries ... manufacturer of a complete system of proactive air and surface purification solutions for ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... -- The Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) today ... allow biopharmaceutical companies to more easily share health care ... coverage decisions, a move that addresses the growing need ... The recommendations address restrictions in the sharing of product ... a prohibition that hinders decision makers from accessing HCEI ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 Research ... World Market for Companion Diagnostic Tests" report to their ... Market for Companion Diagnostics The World Market ... and personalized medicine diagnostics. Market analysis in the report includes ... Test Market (In Vitro Diagnostic Kits) by Region (N. America, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Belgium , June 24, 2016 ... today announced the appointment of Dr. Edward ... as a Non-Executive Director, effective June 23, 2016.Dr. ... Compensation and Nominations and Governance Committees.  As a ... will provide independent expertise and strategic counsel to ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: