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Concussion Clinic teams and networks should delineate each other’s roles and professional scopes of practice.

Background:

Patients must be able to make informed choices about treatment plans and healthcare providers. Each practitioner should outline which areas of the necessary core functions he/she addresses (i.e. cognition, psychosocial functioning, physical support etc.).  Clarity in roles will promote informed decision-making around care plans and increase the clinical accountability of providers among themselves. Care of a post-concussion patient must not be provided outside of a regulated health professional’s scope of practice. Scopes of practice describe the procedures, actions, and functions that healthcare practitioners are permitted to undertake in keeping with their professional license. These are the functions that providers are trained to provide and about which they will receive ongoing education and support from their regulatory body. Providers operating outside their scope of practice may be in violation of their licensing agreement and the standards for practice within Ontario.

What this standard means:

Patients and professionals should have an understanding how the services needed for the individual and the available providers fit within allowable scopes of practice. This understanding should further strengthen collective competence in post-concussion care. Patients and their families need to be able to make informed decisions about which healthcare professionals are best qualified (training, regulation and experience) to treat specific symptoms. It is also important for healthcare providers to know the limits of their practice and personal experience and by extension, know who they can refer patients to get appropriate care if they are not able to provide it.

In Ontario, the regulatory bodies for the recognized healthcare professions provide general direction in the form of standards of practice. Currently, many regulatory bodies are considering whether they should be developing scopes of practice, specific for post-concussion care.