Background: Current return to learn (RTL) after concussion guidelines lack specificity for individualized student care, limiting potential for adoption and implementation. We used a community-engaged research framework to develop and evaluate the implementation of a student-centered care plan that assists school personnel in facilitating RTL.
Methods: We used best-practice RTL guidelines and input from administrators and medical experts to iteratively develop a flexible student-centered care plan. Thirteen schools participated. Coding completion of care plans indicated feasibility and fidelity; interviews with RTL coordinators indicated acceptability.
Results: The care plan includes educational materials, symptom checklists, and guidelines for classroom adjustments linked to student symptoms. Care plans were initiated for 24 (70.6%) of 34 students with concussions, indicating feasibility. Fidelity was high, with the following subsections completed: Action Checklist (90%), Symptom Evaluation (91%), Temporary Adjustment Recommendations (95%). Qualitative analysis of interviews suggested care plans were acceptable and facilitate consistent communication, prioritization of individual needs of students, and increased ability to delegate tasks to other school staff.
Conclusions: Implementation of a student-centered, individually tailored care plan for RTL is feasible and acceptable in public high schools. Future research should examine how to expediently initiate student-centered concussion care plans after diagnosis to optimize recovery.
Keywords: child and adolescent health; concussion; return to learn; school health services; school nurses.
© 2020, American School Health Association.