The Brains Ahead! intervention for children and adolescents with mild traumatic brain injury and their caregivers: rationale and description of the treatment protocol

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Purpose:Approximately 20% of the children and adolescents after mild traumatic brain injury will not fully recover. They suffer long-term postconcussive symptoms and may experience limitations in activities and participation. Research suggests that early psychoeducational interventions may prevent long-term postconcussive symptoms. The Brains Ahead! intervention was developed to prevent long-term symptoms and, furthermore, to establish a more successful return to activities and participation after mild traumatic brain injury in children and adolescents. The intervention is currently being evaluated in a multicenter randomized controlled trial.Rationale:Providing individualized information and personal advice in addition to standardized information about the injury and possible consequences early after the injury may enable patients and caregivers to recognize and anticipate on relevant symptoms at an early stage and to prevent problems in activities and participation.Theory into practice:The Brains Ahead! intervention is a psychoeducational intervention for children and adolescents who sustained a mild traumatic brain injury and for their caregivers. The patients will receive a partially standardized and partially individualized psychoeducational session and a telephone follow-up within the first two to eight weeks after the injury.

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