5Every patient diagnosed with a concussion should receive follow-up (usually from his/her primary care provider) within 1-2 weeks.
The strength of the evidence is improving with respect to risk factors for those who are likely to experience prolonged symptoms. By having a diagnostic assessment close after the concussive event and follow-up within the first 1-2 weeks, facilitates monitoring risk factors and ensures that patients who are not recovering quickly can be identified and receive timely necessary care.
Currently post-concussion care is not being provided in a standardized way following a consistent care pathway. This has meant that some patients do not get follow-up until significant problems have developed and the patient is in considerable distress. Follow-up ensures the patient is being clinically observed.
What this standard means:
It is important that the primary care practitioner have a thorough understanding of the patient’s history and current circumstances so that an accurate assessment of risk factors can be made.
The primary care practitioner will need to make decisions about additional, further follow-up care if symptoms are not abating, keeping track of potential risk factors that may make for a protracted recovery. A follow-up appointment should be booked prior to the patient leaving.
If a general medical practitioner does not feel that they have the necessary experience in concussion to fully manage a patient with prolonged symptoms, it is recommended that he/she refer to a concussion clinic or network of providers with the necessary specialized training, knowledge and experience, while still maintaining medical oversight.
Tools and Resources:
Risk Factors Table