Developing Standards of Care in Concussion Clinics in Ontario
ONF invited clinic providers, traumatic brain injury experts, OBIA , people and family members with lived experience of concussion, and organizations with an interest in concussion from around the province to the Summit held on April 15, 2016.
The purpose of the Summit was to discuss and develop consensus as to what the standards for concussion clinics should be in Ontario. The goal of this process is to ensure Ontarians who sustain a concussion have access to, and get the right care from the right providers at the right time. Patients and families have made it very clear to us, the difficulties in getting the right care when there are persistent symptoms following a concussion, and we are working to make care more consistent, try to ensure it is of the best quality, and provide education to patients and families on what they should look for in a concussion clinic.
At the Summit the talks focused on developing standards for the following:
- What is a concussion clinic and what elements should be in place?
- What are the core services that a concussion clinic should offer?
- What defines a concussion expert and what training should be required?
- What do patients and families need to know, and ask of their providers?
- What are the ways that we can assess and measure the standards, and coordinate this?
Working with the experts from the Summit, ONF has developed a strategy to undertake the standards development, and four working groups have been formed to address the major issues discussed at the Summit, with the following objectives:
- Develop and implement standards of practice in concussion clinics throughout the province.
- Establish collective competence in concussion care that enables networks for regional care.
- Build an improved system for management and referrals.
- Improve the knowledge of patients and families regarding what they can expect as optimal services.
- Develop methods for assessment, coordination and measurement of standards.
The four collaborative working groups that have been formed from amongst the experts at the Summit consist of:
Working Group 1: Collective competence and multi- and interdisciplinary care
- Development of a profile as to what each type of practitioner brings to a concussion clinic, their defined scope of practice and the specialist training for their discipline
- Creation of a map to improve the management of symptom clusters in different clinical environments
Working Group 2: Developing an improved system for management and referrals
- Examination of specialist and clinic wait times, and determine the cost of this wait on families and the healthcare system
- Develop feasible standards for services, wait times to see specialists and referrals for clinics
- Explore network development through utilization of regional centres of excellence
Working Group 3: Developing patient information
- Partnering with the Ontario Brain Injury Association (OBIA) to develop information materials and to ensure that the materials are provided through the providers, networks and other appropriate channels
Working Group 4: Assessment, coordination and measurement of standards
- Short-term plan to educate concussion stakeholders on the standards
- Determine the longer term vision, and the feasibility of setting standards through Health Quality Ontario.
ONF is continuing to work with partners at clinics around the province, as well as with associations and agencies that play a role in improving the delivery, quality and measurement of healthcare. A paper on the Summit has been written up and will be submitted to journals that have an interest in brain injury and health services.
Through our expert and multidisciplinary working groups, ONF and our partners aim to develop standards for concussion care and concussion clinics through the province that will be of the highest quality and based on the most current evidence.