The purpose of this study was to identify 1) the proportion of patients discharged from the emergency department (ED) with a diagnosis of concussion and return within 14 days, and 2) the characteristics that prompt a return.
A health records review was conducted on adult patients with a discharge diagnosis of a concussion who accessed care through Hamilton Health Sciences EDs and Urgent Care Centre in 2016. Subsequent data were collected from those who returned to the ED within 14 days. Clinical characteristics of returners were compared to those of non-returners.
Of the 389 patients included in the study, 38 (10%) returned within 14 days. Patients who sustained a concussion in a sport-related context or were referred to a specialized clinic were less likely to return (
p= 0.03). Those who suffered an assault-related concussion were more likely to return ( p= 0.01). Of those who did return, 42% received a CT scan with normal results, and 42% were given new discharge instructions. Conclusions
Approximately 10% of patients diagnosed with a concussion in a Canadian hospital setting returned to the ED within 14 days of their index visit. Our study suggests the opportunity to reduce this burden to both the healthcare system and the patient through careful discharge instructions outlining anticipated symptoms following a concussion (specifically, headache) or referral to a concussion clinic.