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:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... Since launching its annual ... foundation serving the footwear industry, has broken all previous participation records in its ... across 23 states during the months of April and May, the 2016 Footwear ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... Newport Beach, Calif. (PRWEB) , ... April 29, 2016 , ... ... affect us. An effective way to confront and deal with these stressors is to ... taste bad to be good for you. Risa Groux, a certified Holistic Nutritionist and ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... , ... April 29, 2016 , ... ... healthcare awareness and author of best seller "LOVE, MEDICINE and MIRACLES") addresses touchy ... May 2, 2016 and podcasted thereafter . Dr. Bernie Siegel, author of ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... Coast Dental Fort Stewart ... at its new location in the Exchange Furniture Mall at 112 Vilseck Road in ... 50-inch Samsung Smart TV. Plus attendees will have the opportunity to meet general dentists ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... The Wharton School ... Perlman Grand Prize of the 2016 Wharton Business Plan Competition —as well ... Choice Award, and the Committee Award for Most ‘Wow Factor,’ making them the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2016)... Elekta today announced that its ... the focal point of seven scientific presentations at ESTRO ... Radiotherapy & Oncology, taking place April 29 - May ... system and a high-field MRI scanner with sophisticated software ... anatomy in real time. The MR-linac is designed to ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... Kan. , April 27, 2016  Bayer ... , a senior from the University of Florida ... of the Bayer Excellence in Communication Award (BECA). ... schools, which were awarded a total of $70,000 ... the last four years, Bayer has provided a ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... , April 27, 2016 ... USD 2.14 billion by 2022, according to a ...      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20150105/723757 ) , ... affecting the efficiency and accuracy delivered by the ... demand for novel urinalysis instruments and consumables. For ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: