At the Weill Cornell Concussion and Brain Injury Clinic, we provide patients with a Roadmap to Recovery to guide them through this “invisible injury.”
In the immediate aftermath of a head injury, the most important consideration is taking care of any acute issues — the emergency room visit, if required, including any required imaging. Even if no ER visit is necessary, what comes after the acute stage is just as important to a patient’s long-term well-being.
At the Weill Cornell Concussion and Brain Injury Clinic, we create what we call a Roadmap to Recovery. This roadmap follows a logical sequence to help us help patients return to their lives. (Download the Roadmap to Recovery.)
The first stop on this roadmap is the Assessment, which is a comprehensive evaluation that includes:
- A neuropsychological exam, which consists of a brief battery of tests of all cognitive functions — including attention, memory, visual-spatial functioning, visuo-motor speed and learning, and cognitive processing speed. We will also assess reaction time and working memory with modules from a reliable computerized battery developed and used by the military in place of the unreliable subtests from commercially sold computerized batteries.
- If needed, a neurological exam to assess basic brain functions, including reflexes, movement (both small and large), and vision.
- If the treating neurologist or neuropsychologist deems it necessary, a patient will be referred for neuroimaging (scans) so that a neuroradiologist can look for any observable brain damage. The Weill Cornell Concussion and Brain Injury Clinic provides the very latest in imaging technology, which can detect even the smallest signs of damage. Even if there are no findings on these images, a patient may still be experiencing difficulties. We assure our patients that they WILL receive all the treatments available to assist in their recovery.
The second stop on this roadmap is the Recommendations for Recovery. Combining the information gathered through the assessment stage, our experts will create a plan for the post-concussion period, which may include:
- a period of rest or reduced activity, or
- a gradual return to physical and mental activity, with
- a schedule for resuming those activities, taking into consideration the patient’s symptoms (including the frequency, severity, and triggers for these symptoms).
These recommendations will outline the course of recovery during the initial weeks after the concussion.
The third stop on the roadmap is the follow-up appointment, at which time our experts will determine if there are any ongoing post-concussion symptoms, including:
- Attention and focus issues
- Sleep problems
- Psychological difficulties, including anxiety and increased irritability
- Problems with balance and dizziness
- Visual difficulties
If the follow-up appointment shows no areas for concern, the patient is considered recovered and no further treatment is required. If there are post-concussion symptoms, however, we have specialists in each of these areas who are available to evaluate and treat these problems to keep our patients on the road to recovery. We will stick with our patients until symptoms are resolved.
Our final goal is to get you back to work, back to school, and back to life!