The effect of telephone counselling on reducing post-traumatic symptoms after mild traumatic brain injury: a randomised trial

Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry
Kathleen R BellSureyya Dikmen


Mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) is a significant public health problem affecting approximately 1 million people annually in the USA. A total of 10-15% of individuals are estimated to have persistent post-traumatic symptoms. This study aimed to determine whether focused, scheduled telephone counselling during the first 3 months after MTBI decreases symptoms and improves functioning at 6 months. This was a two-group, parallel, randomised clinical trial with the outcome assessed by blinded examiner at 6 months after injury. 366 of 389 eligible subjects aged 16 years or older with MTBI were enrolled in the emergency department, with an 85% follow-up completion rate. Five telephone calls were completed, individualised for patient concerns and scripted to address education, reassurance and reactivation. Two composites were analysed, one relating to post-traumatic symptoms that developed or worsened after injury and their impact on functioning, the other related to general health status. The telephone counselling group had a significantly better outcome for symptoms (6.6 difference in adjusted mean symptom score, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.2 to 12.0), but no difference in general health outcome (1.5 difference in adjusted mean ...Continue Reading


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