Morris Hospital Launches Concussion Management Program
September 14, 2020, MORRIS, IL – Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers is striving to improve the outcomes for individuals diagnosed with concussions through its new Concussion Management Program.
Called “Getting Your Brain Back On Track,” the comprehensive and evidence-based concussion management program utilizes emergency or immediate care, neurology and rehabilitation services to enhance concussion diagnosis, evaluation and treatment.
“There’s an urgent need for someone with a concussion to be seen by a certified provider within a few days of the injury,” says Dr. Isaac Mezo, a neurologist with Morris Hospital Neurology Specialists, adding that Morris Hospital has noticed an increase in concussions in the community specifically due to sports-related and head injuries. “Yet, we’ve found it’s often weeks or months after a concussion occurs that patients are receiving post-concussion treatment.”
“These numbers are very troubling to us, and that is what this program is looking to change,” adds Dr. Mezo. “Our goal is to streamline the process for concussion diagnosis and treatment, so that people can get back to work, school or play as fast as possible without any long-lasting injury.”
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head that causes movement in the brain. This sudden movement in the head can cause chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretch or damage brain cells, causing neurological symptoms. Common symptoms of a concussion include headache, dizziness, nausea, sensitivity to light, concentration or memory problems, confusion, vomiting, vision problems or feeling sluggish, hazy or groggy. Concussions range in severity from minor injuries that heal with rest to serious conditions that can have long-term effects on daily life.
When a head injury occurs and symptoms last more than a few minutes, patients are strongly encouraged to visit an emergency department or immediate care center so a provider can rule out a serious injury. Patients who are diagnosed with concussion at Morris Hospital’s walk-in care locations will be referred for a priority care assessment and neurological exam within 48 hours with an ImPACT certified provider who is specially trained in post-concussion diagnosis, evaluation and treatment.
ImPACT, which stands for Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing, is a computerized test that provides data to evaluate a patient’s post-injury condition and aids in tracking recovery. Morris Hospital’s ImPACT certified providers include Dr. Isaac Mezo and Dr. Samuel Quaynor, neurologists; Dr. Jaynee Pendergast, family medicine; and Stefanie Henline, neurology nurse practitioner.
Depending on symptoms, providers may refer patients for physical therapy or speech therapy with an ImPACT certified therapist who will oversee the active rehabilitation for patients who are recovering from a concussion. Morris Hospital has four ImPACT certified physical therapists who work at the Diagnostic & Rehabilitative Center of Morris Hospital.
“Physical therapy focuses on vestibular exercises for balance problems, neck pain, headache and dizziness,” Dr. Mezo says. “Or, cognitive therapy with a speech therapist may be recommended for individuals who are having difficulty concentrating or finding difficulty with memory.”
Initially, the concussion management program will be supported with funding from the Morris Hospital Foundation. Morris Hospital will also be striving to raise awareness in the community about concussion warning signs and treatment.
“If anyone has any kind of head injury, it’s better to be safe than sorry,” says Dr. Mezo. “Anyone who suffers a blow to the head should need just a couple of seconds to a couple of minutes for symptoms to go away. If any symptoms last more than an hour after a head injury, it’s critical to get checked out.”
For more information about the concussion management program, please visit www.morrishospital.org/concussion or call the Morris Hospital Neurology Specialists’ office at 815-467-0555 (Channahon) or 815-942-4506 (Morris).