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A Study Indicating A Need for Education for Parents of Pediatric Concussion Patients

Jennifer Grimm, Jeffrey Holloway, MD, Jacob Kay, PHDc, MS, Colt Coffman

An estimated 1.6 – 3.8 million sport- and recreation-related concussions occur in children under the age of 18 each year in the US. While most pediatric concussions resolve in 3-4 weeks, 15-20% of children experience persisting symptoms that can negatively impact social and academic life. Timing to specialty care and proper management techniques can greatly influence symptom experience and recovery outcomes. This project aims to determine if trends exist in parental beliefs about concussions and concussion management after visiting their child’s referring medical provider. As part of a larger study, parents of concussed children (10-18 years old) who are new patients at the Palmetto Health-USC Pediatric Concussion Clinic were provided with parent knowledge surveys to complete upon arrival at the clinic. Parent surveys were collected prior to visiting with the concussion specialist to assess baseline knowledge of concussions among caregivers. An important component of the survey asks parents to self-report how likely they are to say that they understand the basics of concussions. This information was used to bifurcate groups: 1) parents who report being knowledgeable about concussions and 2) parents who do not report being knowledgeable about concussions. Trends were compared on beliefs regarding concussion management between these two groups. A qualitative analysis of other key clinical factors: medical specialties the patients are being referred from, what parents recall being told by their referring providers, if their referring providers distributed take home educational materials, and how likely the parents are to do their own research if questions arise was also conducted. The results suggest that many parents who self-report being knowledgeable about concussions are lacking critical knowledge regarding basics in recovery management. The survey results also revealed that a majority of the patients referred to the Palmetto Health-USC Pediatric Concussion Clinic were referred by their pediatricians or primary care physicians. Although the patients had been seen by their referring provider, the parents of the patients did not recall being informed of key components of the concussion management and recovery process. The results also showed that the majority of the parents who took the suvery are likely to do research of their own about the concussion recovery process if questions arise. In further analyses, we hope to highlight specific areas in which concussion education for parents is inadequate and where improvements in parental education could be most beneficial. Findings from the present study will serve to enhance concussion education materials for parents with the goal of improving pediatric concussion management in the event that a concussion occurs.

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