Ottawa (Ontario), December 10, 2014 – The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) has opened a concussion clinic to treat children and youth suffering from symptoms that persist for more than a month following a head injury.
Head injuries can result in a wide range of symptoms — from mild injuries that can be followed up in a family doctor’s office to severe injuries requiring treatment by a neurosurgeon. A recent survey by the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation found that there has been an increase in the number of children suffering from concussions in Eastern Ontario. The study also showed that despite this increase, there are still limited treatment options available. As a result, there is a gap in the management of children suffering from complex concussions.
CHEO’s new concussion clinic located at 1355 Bank Street will help to fill that gap with the services of pediatrician Dr. Kristian Goulet and nurse practitioner and researcher Dr. Gail Macartney. They will assess symptoms, diagnose physical, social, cognitive and emotional problems, and help patients and families understand and manage their post-concussion symptoms and their recovery expectations. The concussion clinic will also work with the patient’s primary care provider to ensure that care is coordinated and appropriate follow-up care is provided.
“We saw that there was a gap in health care available for concussion treatment and by opening this clinic, CHEO hopes to improve care and advance our understanding of complex pediatric concussions,” says Alex Munter, President and CEO of CHEO.
“CHEO believes that it is important to treat these patients because untreated symptoms affect day-to-day functioning which can result in negative long term consequences,” says CHEO neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Vassilyadi, whose research described the symptom experience of concussed athletes, supported the need for a specialized clinic, and eventually led to the creation of the CHEO concussion clinic. “Children can experience many symptoms including physical symptoms, cognitive impairment, psychological and personality changes.”
This new concussion clinic will take a holistic approach to concussions using the most up to date treatment options available.
Fortunately, concussive symptoms generally resolve with appropriate cognitive and physical rest. The clinic will focus on complex cases involving children with persistent symptoms and help improve the management of pediatric concussions through evidence-informed practice and creation of new knowledge. It will work to increase concussion awareness within the community, and strive to become a leading advocating voice for children with concussions. The concussion clinic will also support multidisciplinary training including students, medical residents and fellows to improve patient care.
In Eastern Ontario, there are thousands of concussions a year arising from accidental or sport-related injuries, with hundreds of these injuries treated in the CHEO emergency room. An estimated two-thirds of pediatric concussions are a result of sports related injuries. The remaining one-third are due to falls and motor vehicle accidents. Up to 83% of patients who are admitted to the ER with a concussion have no arrangements for follow-up medical care.
The concussion clinic is another example of CHEOnext in action – CHEO’s plan to transform how health care is delivered to children and youth in our community. A focus of CHEOnext is to better connect care within and beyond the hospital’s walls. Recent examples include CHEO’s partnership with the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa for better child protection, CHEO’s eConsult service, and a new epilepsy monitoring unit.
CHEO is a pediatric health and research centre providing outstanding family-centered patient care, pioneering breakthrough research, and training the health care professionals of tomorrow.
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