What Information Should Concussion Patients Bring for the First Visit?

One of the questions we get asked quite often here at Broadview Health Centre is, especially ahead of a patient’s first visit when suffering a concussion, is, “What information should I bring?” / “What information do you need from me?”

In short: The more, the better!

When it comes to details about patients and their medical history, there’s rarely if ever such a thing as “too much” information. By providing us with as much information as possible – either ahead of or coming into your appointment – this enables us to arrive at a more accurate diagnosis and lets us get you on the path to recovery sooner.

What We Don’t Know Might Be Hurting You

Some people are more comfortable sharing information than others. That’s natural. Perhaps you’re shy or are a private person. Sometimes people have told us, “oh, I didn’t want to bother you.” It’s no bother at all, trust us!

When coming in for your initial visit, you know you’re not feeling well. You probably have a pretty good idea as to the sequence of events that led up to this condition. Sharing that with us means we can assess your condition in a quicker fashion, prompting us to ask follow-up questions and begin the diagnostic process.

Some essential information would thus include:

  • How did you sustain this head injury?
  • What were you doing while you sustained this head injury?
  • What are the symptoms you are currently experiencing?
  • What aggravates those symptoms or makes them worse?
  • What do you find helps relieve those symptoms, or when do you notice them subsiding?
  • Have you noticed a pattern to your symptoms (e.g. times of day, after certain activities, etc.)

As you can imagine, this is the kind of information that helps us put the pieces of the puzzle together. That’s why it’s important not to leave anything out. It’s much better to err on the side of caution and give us more information, as opposed to not giving enough.

Don’t Hold Back!

Many patients have told us that writing down their symptoms has been helpful. You may find that keeping a journal is even better; that way you can keep track of what symptoms occurred, when they occurred, the severity of the symptoms, what you did to ease the discomfort and how well that worked.

Whatever you’ve written down – whether it’s just bullet points on a piece of paper or a whole journal of symptoms and patterns – we ask that you bring this to your first appointment with us (bringing the journal to subsequent appointments also helps show progress).

When writing down the information, think back to what you were doing at the time of the injury. If you were involved in a car accident, for example, think back to what you can remember about how the impact occurred. Same goes for sports injuries – where were you, what or who hit you, how were you impacted (how did you fall), etc.?

This is a valuable exercise, one that helps us determine the nature and severity of your concussion and thus the best course of treatment. It’s worth your while to take some time to sit and reconstruct things, and to continue with journaling so that the picture becomes clearer.

The Concussion Specialists in Ottawa

Broadview Health Centre are a leading-edge provider of treatment for brain injuries and concussions in Ottawa. Contact us today to find our how we can help. We welcome your questions and look forward to working together to find effective solutions for your concussion.

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