Symptom-Guided Emergency Department Discharge Instructions for Children With Concussion

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid



The objective was to evaluate the use and utility of a novel set of emergency department discharge instructions (DIs) for concussion based on a child's ongoing symptoms: symptom-guided DIs (symptom DIs). Differences in clinical outcomes were also assessed.


A convenience sample of 114 children aged 7 to 17 years presenting to an urban pediatric emergency department with a complaint of concussion was assembled. Children were randomized to standard DIs or symptom DIs. Children completed a graded symptom checklist (GSC) and completed daily the GSC for 1 week. Telephone follow-up was performed at 7 days after enrollment using a standardized survey.


Fifty-eight children received the symptom DIs, and 56 received the standard DIs. Rates of use were similar with reported rates of 92% for symptom DIs and 84% for standard DIs. Caregivers with symptom DIs reported that the DIs were more helpful in determining when their child could return to school and physical activity (P < 0.05) than caregivers with standard DIs. Children continued to have postconcussive symptoms days and weeks after their injury with 44% of children with symptom DIs and 51% of children with standard DIs reporting symptoms on the GSC at 1 week.


Both study groups reported frequent use of the DIs. Caregivers with symptom DIs found them particularly helpful in determining when their child could return to school and physical activity. Larger-scale investigations are needed to further develop instructions that are easy to use and that may decrease the postconcussive period.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles