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Nice Announces Head Injury Standard

Headway Helps Government Body Draw Up Plan For Better Care


The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) has unveiled a new quality standard for those receiving treatment after severe head injuries.

Brain injury charity Headway was one of the parties involved in the consultation ahead of the drawing-up of the new standard, which stipulates the level of care patients should receive.

This covers the assessment of the condition, the management of the injury early on and the rehabilitation stage. These standards are applicable for children, young people and adults.

Nice believes the new standards will reduce the number of deaths from head injuries and ensure improvements in the levels of recovery experienced by patients afterwards. Headway has agreed to contribute to making the new system work by helping ensure those who carry out or commission treatments are made aware of the guidelines.

Headway raised a number of issues during the consultation process, such as the lack of information being made available for those who have suffered minor brain injuries.

In June, the charity said post-concussion syndrome was an example of a condition where patients were not being told enough. It pointed to research by Warwick Medical School and the University of Warwick, which showed that 92 per cent of hospitals were not complying with recommendations by Nice that they provide the relevant discharge advice.

As a result, it warned, some people could find themselves suffering from the long-term effects of these conditions and have no idea where to turn for help. This was made worse by some GPs not having sufficient knowledge of such conditions to offer the right kind of help.

Headway also called for consideration to be given to issues of hormonal imbalance after head injuries, stating this issue has often been overlooked.

Other bodies involved in the consultation process included the Brain and Spinal Injury Centre, the British Paediatric Neurology Association, the College of Emergency Medicine, the Intensive Care Society, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Society and College of Radiographers and the Royal College of Nursing.

Expert Opinion
Ensuring those who have suffered a head injury have access to the best possible care and support should be a top priority. The road to recovery following a head injury can be a long one and it is vital patients receive the best possible care, as this plays a critical role in their recovery and rehabilitation.

“We welcome the development of this new standard by Nice, as it will significantly improve the care provided to those who have suffered head injuries and ensure that care standards are the same across the board. It’s long overdue that an attempt has been made to define core standards in this area, of which there are 8 in total, and it is great to see the support for this from a number of professional and support organisations especially Headway.”
Neil Whiteley, Partner

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