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Keywords:

  • children;
  • clinical decision rules;
  • guidelines;
  • management;
  • minor head injury

Objectives

To investigate present established routines and standards in managing minor head-injured children in Danish hospitals, a survey of present management practice was conducted.

Materials and Methods

A cross-sectional mail survey, detailing clinical and radiological examinations, in-hospital observation, discharge criteria and follow-up, was performed on all 46 hospitals treating children with minor head injury in Denmark.

Results

Of the 46 hospitals, 33% report having established written criteria for the referral and management of children with minor head injury. Ten (22%) of the 46 hospitals are so-called injury clinics, where only nurses are employed. All state that they use the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) and/or the paediatric GCS to assess the level of consciousness; 15% use the paediatric GCS exclusively. None perform routine radiological examinations. Criteria for early discharge are established in 98% of the hospitals. All hospitals provide written instructions for observations at home before discharge.

Conclusion

The management of children with minor head injury varies between hospitals in Denmark. Local management guidelines are either lacking or mainly based on those of adults. Hence, there is a need for the development of minor head injury guidelines specifically designed for the management of children.