Auckland Concussion Service has been established to provide early access and timely assessment for people who have sustained a mild (concussion) or moderate traumatic injury or have post concussion syndrome.
For ACC to fund the referral the client needs to be between 10 days – 12 months post injury, have an accepted ACC claim and be referred by their GP, Accident and Medical Centre or ACC Case Manager. Following a concussion or moderate brain injury people commonly experiences range of symptoms including:
- Headaches and dizziness
- Tiring more easily
- Difficulty sleeping
- Forgetfulness and memory problems
- Difficulty concentrating and being easily distracted
- Slowed thinking
- Irritability, depression, anxiety and personality changes
- Balance or dizziness
- Noise / light sensitivity
All of these symptoms can affect the clients’ ability to return to work or study, and to manage their usual activities.
Once a referral is received, an experienced therapist meets with the client to carry out an initial interview to gather more information about the accident and ongoing symptoms and difficulties. The client will be provided with information and advice about brain injury, and how the client can manage symptoms to ensure they are on the right path for recovery.
A treatment and rehabilitation plan is developed and forwarded to the ACC Case Manager. This can include any of the following, depending upon the clients needs:
- Medical assessment with Neurologist or Neuropsychiatrist, to assess and treat headaches, sleep disturbances, mood disturbances
- Neuropsychological screening assessment – to assess cognitive function/deficits (how well your brain is thinking and processing information)
- Allied health assessment – Neurophysiotherapy, Speech Language Therapy, or Occupational Therapy as appropriate, to further assess injury effects
- Allied Health therapy sessions –from any of the therapy team to provide advice to the client about how to manage their symptoms and recover
Medical consultations – as a follow up to the medical assessment
- Psychological consultation – sessions with a psychologist if needed to assist the client to manage any mood issues relating to their injury.
- When ACC give approval the assessment/therapy commences – this can take place over weeks or months depending on need, therapy sessions can take place in the client’s home, work, school, educational institute or where ever appropriate, including Concussion Service clinics around Auckland.
- A report is written for ACC on completion of the programme, at which time most people are recovered and ready for discharge from Concussion Service, otherwise the report will recommend other services/treatment that the client may need.