Minor head injury discharge advice
A Headway study conducted in 2010 in conjunction with researchers at Warwick Medical School at the University of Warwick, highlighted that an incredible 92% of accident and emergency departments at hospitals across the UK were failing to provide patients with satisfactory written information following minor head injuries.
The research showed that just 21 of 254 A&E departments across the UK were providing minor head injury patients with leaflets containing all the key information as recommended by the NICE and SIGN guidelines.
The report also revealed that 53% of A&E departments are failing to provide at least half of the required written advice and more than a third (35%) are not providing post-concussion syndrome (PCS) advice. PCS can lead to fatigue, headaches and impaired concentration, which can have a detrimental effect on a person's quality of life.
Each year an estimated one million people attend an A&E department in the UK following a head injury, with many more injuries going unreported and not assessed by medical professionals. With such a significant number of people potentially affected, it is vitally important that every A&E department across the UK provides the information recommended by NICE to all head injury patients.
When a minor head injury occurs, it may take some time for the symptoms to show. Even if the knock appeared innocuous at the time, it is essential to take each case seriously. Even a minor bang to the head can have major consequences and it is vital that patients leave hospital with high-quality, detailed information on the symptoms to look out for.
Without being warned, a patient wouldn't know they shouldn't be left alone for 48 hours after leaving hospital, or the potentially serious implications of suffering weakness in their arms or legs, for example.
In fact, 35% of A&Es don't even advise their minor head injury patients not to drive immediately after a head injury.
Headway's campaigning has seen a number of hospitals improve the information they provide to minor head injury patients - but we know many more are still providing inadequate information which could by putting lives at risk.
The Headway factsheet, Minor head injury discharge advice, is available to download free of charge from this site. It contains all the information patients need and has been made available to hospitals to freely distribute to their patients.