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Working with MTBI Patients, Family Members, and Caregivers

Effective physician-patient communications are always challenging, 
especially give the time constraints most practitioners face today. Communicating with patients who may have MTBI may be even more difficult depending on the degree of the patient's impairment. Physicians may sometimes find it useful to prompt patients for additional information about the injury. A parent, guardian, or other caregiver also may be able to share additional information about the nature and circumstances of the injury.


Approaches for Enhancing Physician-Patient Communication

  • Observe the patient closely to check for physical, cognitive, or behavioral changes that might signal MTBI.
  • Question your patient and/or the caregiver closely. When possible, ask questions to elicit more details about the injury, such as “Tell me about,” or “Describe…” 
  • Listen carefully for information the patient or caregiver may give you about difficulties in physical, cognitive, or behavioral status. 
  • Provide additional printed information to patients about the condition and expectations, appropriate referrals, and available community resources. 
  • Write out clear instructions for the patient and/or caregiver to take home and, as appropriate, to share with workplace 
    supervisors or school staff. 
  • Refer patients to physicians who specialize in brain injury, as necessary. 
  • Steer patients to available community resources that may 
    provide additional support. 
  • Follow up with patients to ensure that any MTBI-related problems are addressed in a timely fashion. Flag charts or otherwise make note of the need to follow individuals who have possible MTBIs.
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This page last reviewed September 07, 2006.

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