Monday, 19 May 2014

Abusive Head Trauma

There is a very good article by the NSPCC’s Sally Hogg in Community Care about preventing abusive head trauma in infants.

What I liked best was that the changes she discussed were simple and straightforward and capable of being measured. There is much talk of ‘evidence-based practice’ but often comparatively simple research and data collection does not take place while complex or obscure studies consume research funding and expertise.

I expect Sally Hogg was referring to, among others, the important research by Dias et al [1]. This shows that a hospital-based, parent education programme for the parents of newborn infants can reduce significantly the incidence of abusive head injuries among infants and children under three years of age. The incidence of abusive head injuries decreased in the study group by 47% over a six-year period while death rates in a control area remained unchanged [2].

That’s the kind of innovation that is needed everywhere. We should be experimenting with pilot programmes in Britain. 

End notes
[1] Mark S. Dias, Kim Smith, Kathy deGuehery, Paula Mazur, Veetai Li and Michele L. Shaffer, “A Hospital-Based, Parent Education Program
Preventing Abusive Head Trauma Among Infants and Young Children” Pediatrics Vol. 115 No. 4 April 1, 2005 pp. e470 -e477 

[2] From 41.5 cases per 100 000 live births to 22.2 cases per 100,000 live births.