We know that management of a concussion requires a multimodal and multidisciplinary approach. When your health care provider is considering treatment, they must consider a variety of influences. These include treatment of the cervical spine, vestibular rehabilitation, sleep management, low level aerobic exercise, headache management, psychological interventions ,cognitive rehabilitation, vision therapy and more.
There are many barriers that a patient must encounter when accessing care following a concussion. Primary care physicians such as family physicians receive relatively little training about concussion. Many patients frequent our clinic with the same dated rhetoric of go home and rest in a dark room. This is dangerously incorrect. Additionally, knowledge about concussions is very variable across health care professionals in many disciplines. Typically, health care professionals must seek out their own concussion training as their schooling provides little to no education regarding the management or treatment of concussions. Finally, relatively few concussion specialists or speciality clinics are available, especially in rural areas and for non- sport- related concussions. It is common to have to travel hours in order to seek a professional that is equipped to meet your needs.
You must be thinking, so now what?
There are a few things you can do to better access concussion care. These include:
- Ask a primary care physician for a referral to a concussion specialist or clinic
- Seek information from various health care providers, such as physiotherapists or neuropsychologists
- Call a regional health care service for information and referral suggestions
What is Shift doing to tackle these barriers? Offering virtual care for those who may not have access to transportation. Taking the time to educate our physicians on best care practices. Establishing a network of referrals and frequently reviewing, updating and expanding. Ensuring our clinic is multidisciplinary, collaborative and progressive. Sharing knowledge as much as possible to ensure everyone has access to information. Living with a mismanaged concussion can be debilitating and everyone should do their part in ensuring equal access to care.