Many adults treated at U.S. emergency rooms for mild brain injuries fail to get follow-up care within three months even when they have moderate to severe concussion symptoms, a recent study suggests. Researchers examined data on 831 patients treated for mild brain injuries at 11 U.S. trauma centers who completed follow-up surveys about their care two weeks afterward and again three months later. Overall, just 44 percent of patients – and just 52 percent of people with moderate to severe concussion symptoms – got follow-up care during the study. Part of the problem might be a lack of awareness about the necessity of additional treatment. Only 42 percent of patients reported receiving educational materials from the hospital at discharge detailing what to expect after a mild brain injury, and only 27 percent received a call from the hospital to check up on them within two weeks.
“It is well known that the US healthcare system is fractured, and that there is often poor coordination between acute and non-acute care,” said lead study author Seth Seabury. “So in that sense, it may not be that surprising that a large number of concussion patients fail to receive follow-up care. But I think what was surprising was the magnitude of the problem.”