For the past few years, a group of medical professionals and educators have been working together to develop effective concussion management tools for schools in Virginia.
The head of the Virginia Concussion Initiative (VCI), Dr. Shane V. Caswell, says the group has developed an a la carte menu of tools that schools can select from that best fit their particular situation, resources, personnel, etc. “We’ve developed tools, and guidance that will provide suggestions as to the types of tools that they should consider using, for concussion assessment. Appropriate, effective patient interviewing techniques will be included and suggested not only for school providers but also for teachers on how to talk to kids about concussion,” explains Dr. Caswell.
For example, there is a set of recommendations for teachers to help them identify symptoms of children in their classroom who may be experiencing concussion-related symptoms. And there is information for parents and caregivers to help them ask the right questions when taking their child to the doctor with a possible concussion, and what information they should report back to the school.
On the medical side of the equation, telementoring programming is being developed that will specifically target community providers and school-based medical providers. Says Dr. Caswell, “One of our goals is to bring these two groups together, through this telementoring community and to create local networks to create awareness from the school’s perspective about what are the local resources available in the community, and who are the local experts, and experts available throughout the state.”
Zoom technology will be used to bring together community members from various backgrounds to work with experts on the VCI, to identify ways in which they can facilitate communication between medical providers in the local community and in the schools and how they can best serve the teachers and the schools and the students, in their community.
“We’re all here to help support young minds of Virginia, right? We’re all here to try to ensure, that kids, number one, don’t suffer a concussion as much as we can, reduce the risk of it. But if they do that, they can recover as quickly and as fully as possible,” says Dr. Caswell.