Caring for Patients Diagnosed with Concussions at an Urban Level 1 Trauma Children's Hospital: Development and Implementation of a Standard of Care

Monday, 9 November 2015: 10:20 AM

Susan C. McInerney, BSN, RN, CPN
4North, Nursing, St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Much attention has been given to the developments surrounding concussion identification and treatment. Translating that body of knowledge to the direct care nurses’ everyday practice is paramount in providing appropriate patient care. Converting research into evidence based practice is a highly accepted standard of nursing practice. The goal of our project was to identify a baseline knowledge level of nurse’s working on an urban pediatric medical-surgical/trauma floor related to current best practices for concussed patients. We hypothesized that nurses are not cognizant of the currently recommended best practices for treatment of concussions. We anticipated that this study would demonstrate an improvement in pediatric nurses’ knowledge of best practices in the treatment of patients with concussions. A pilot study was conducted in which nurses were given a survey to complete followed with a lecture presentation; both of which focused on current concussion identification and treatment. A repeat of the survey was given after the lecture comparing results both pre and post educational intervention. After completion of a formal educational presentation, data supports an improvement in the knowledge level of pediatric nurses’ identification of and current best practices in the treatment of patients diagnosed with concussions in an urban pediatric level 1 trauma center. Fifty-seven participants completed the baseline survey, while 33 participants completed the endpoint survey.   At baseline, 39% of participants recalled receiving formal education related to concussions within the past 2 years.  The percentage of participants who answered all 3 knowledge questions correctly more than doubled from baseline to endpoint, with 18% of participants answering all the questions correctly at baseline compared to 39% of participants at endpoint.  Participants were more able to accurately identify interventions for a concussed patient at endpoint, with 74% of participants correctly identifying appropriate interventions at baseline compared to 88% of participants at endpoint. Attitudes and beliefs about having skills and abilities to care for concussion patients increased over time.  At baseline, 65% of participants felt comfortable with their ability to care for a patient with a concussion, while that number increased to 79% at endpoint.   Eighty-one percent of participants reported at baseline that a standardized set of orders for patients with concussions would be helpful; this increased to 88% of participants at endpoint.  The belief that having support from other departments would be beneficial increased over time, with 88% of participants agreeing with this statement.  At endpoint, 94% of participants agreed that participation from other departments would be beneficial.   From these results we identified that a need existed for the development and implementation of a comprehensive standard of care for our concussed pediatric patient population. As nurses we assembled an interdisciplinary team to create a concussion standard of care. We worked collaboratively with physicians and other key departments to develop and implement a set of standardized order sets. Leading this team was a pediatric medical-surgical nurse. This nurse organized a team that consisted of direct care nurses, nurse educators, a surgical nurse practitioner and child life therapists.  Our physician representation brought together trauma, orthopedic, neurosurgery and pediatric hospitalists. Converting current research findings into a uniform nursing plan of care, we are able to provide evidence based interventions that aim to minimize the impact concussions can have on an individual.