Return to learn (RTL) after mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) presents unique challenges for school professionals. A multidisciplinary team approach is necessary yet training school professionals is logistically difficult. This paper describes an innovative pilot RTL program and its evaluation.
METHODS: Utilizing the telehealth/telementoring program Project ECHO®(Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes), this study utilized a multidisciplinary team of subject matter experts to deliver five 1-hour sessions across 5 cohorts of school-based professionals (total of 133 participants). The evaluation used a mixed-methods approach of post-session and post-program participant surveys and post-program participant focus groups.
Participants who completed a post-program survey reported statistically significant improvements in essential aspects of RTL knowledge and self-efficacy. This included improvements in how to manage a student with an mTBI (44.8% to86.9%), benefits of early return to school for students following mTBI (31.8% to 86.9%), and the importance of written RTL policies/procedures (55.1% to 97.1%).
This study demonstrates that RTL training via a telementoring approach may be a positive and effective way to train school-based professionals and improve knowledge and self-efficacy, especially when attending face-to-face trainings are difficult. This model has the potential to produce programmatic and systematic improvements for RTL education.
McAvoy, K, Halstead, M, Radecki, L, et al. Return to learn ECHO: Telementoring for school personnel to help children return to school and learning after mild traumatic brain injury. J Sch Health. 2022; 92 1194- 1201. DOI: 10.1111/josh.13221