Clinician knowledge and practice habits when evaluating sports related concussion in the emergency department

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Abstract

Objective

To investigate emergency department (ED) clinicians’ knowledge and practice habits when evaluating and treating concussions in the Republic of Ireland (ROI)

Design

An 84-item anonymous questionnaire

Setting

Emergency Departments and Minor Injury Units in the ROI

Participants

The survey was distributed by email to the national cohort of Registered Advanced Nurse Practitioners (RANP; n-84), and Emergency Medicine Consultants (n=86), working in EDs in the ROI

Main results

101 Surveys were completed (43 RANP, 43 NCHD, 15 EM Consultants). 60% of all respondents rated themselves as very confident in identifying the signs and symptoms of concussion. Only 40% had heard of or were mildly familiar with the SCAT3 concussion assessment tool. 15% believed MRI and/or CT would demonstrate damage following a concussion. 60% felt that they were very confident giving discharge advice and return to play (RTP) instructions following concussion although half of all respondents advise waking the patient up several times over the first 24hours. Only 37% believe that adolescent players (<18 yrs) take longer to recover from concussion than adults. 70% of all respondents believe appropriate headgear can help prevent concussion.

Conclusions

Current guidelines regarding assessment tools have not reached the majority of ED clinicians. Additionally, knowledge gaps exist regarding concussion symptom identification and management, and further education is warranted.

Competing interests

None.

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