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:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... The ... from offices headquartered in Hamilton County, is embarking on a charity drive with ... in finding new homes for orphaned or neglected senior dogs in the Cincinnati ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... Peter Zipp Insurance, an ... around the greater Phoenix metropolitan region, is announcing a charity event to provide ... the Homeless Youth Connection is to promote community awareness of the ongoing needs ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... The Compretta Insurance Agency, ... residential clients in and around the Hancock County area, is announcing the launch of ... Food Pantry. , The Hancock County Food Pantry has worked for more than 30 ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... , ... December 08, 2016 , ... ... services to families and business owners in and around central Kansas, is joining ... to at-risk youth in the region. , Headquartered in Wichita, Youth Horizons works ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Students attending Envision’s summer 2017 National ... hands-on experience in an emergency medical simulation, When Care is Hours Away. This ... medical skills that are critical success in a future career and beyond. , ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/8/2016)... Dec. 8, 2016 KEY FINDINGS ... share of the market in 2016 and is expected ... be attributed to a large number of surgical procedures ... the largest share in the patient temperature management market.) ... as reducing loss of blood during surgeries, lowering the ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Endodontic Supplies ... ... the worldwide markets for Endodontic Supplies in US$ Thousand. The report provides separate ... , Europe , Asia-Pacific , ... and forecasts are provided for the period 2015 through 2022. Also, a six-year ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... CITY , Dec. 8, 2016 ... US patents for improving the accuracy, reproducibility and ... images in long and small bone orthopaedic applications. ... approach to creating personalized orthopaedic restorations based on ... personalized orthopaedic restorations, the company harnesses the world,s ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: