Social Work Intervention May Help Recovery After mTBI

brain scans

social work and tbiPeople who suffer a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) sometimes experience long-term symptoms and complications, but do frequently do not have access to appropriate care and follow-up. The SWIFT (Social Work Intervention for Mild Traumatic Brain Injury) is a pilot study to test the effectiveness of an intervention of education at the emergency department, follow-up and referrals to people who have suffered an mTBI. The SWIFT specifically targets alcohol use, community functioning, depression, anxiety, post-concussive symptoms, post-traumatic stress, and service use.

In the first pilot study of the SWIFT, researchers compared 32 mTBI patients who received the SWIFT intervention with 32 mTBI patients who received care as usual. Those that received the SWIFT intervention were more likely to maintain their pre-injury community functioning and report significantly reduced alcohol use. There were no significant differences in the other targeted measures.

The SWIFT is potentially a useful intervention to support people with mTBI. Further research with larger numbers of participants will help identify the feasibility for its use across hospitals.

Moore M, Winkelman A, Kwong S, et al. The emergency department social work intervention for mild traumatic brain injury (SWIFT-Acute): A pilot study. Brain Injury. (April 2014).