UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Interdisciplinary intervention (GAIN) for adults with post-concussion symptoms: a study protocol for a stepped-wedge cluster randomised trial Næss-Schmidt, Erhard T.; Thastum, Mille M.; Stabel, Henriette H.; Odgaard, Lene; Pedersen, Asger R.; Rask, Charlotte U.; Silverberg, Noah D.; Schröder, Andreas; Nielsen, Jørgen F.


Background Persistent post-concussion symptoms (PCS) are associated with prolonged disability, reduced health-related quality of life and reduced workability. At present, no strong evidence for treatments for people with persistent PCS exists. Our research group developed a novel intervention, “Get going After concussIoN (GAIN)”, that incorporates multiple evidence-based strategies including prescribed exercise, cognitive behavioural therapy, and gradual return to activity advice. In a previous randomised trial, GAIN provided in a hospital setting was effective in reducing symptoms in 15–30-year-olds with PCS 2–6 months post-injury. In the current study, we describe the protocol for a trial designed to test the effectiveness of GAIN in a larger municipality setting. Additionally, we test the intervention within a broader age group and evaluate a broader range of outcomes. The primary hypothesis is that participants allocated to enhanced usual care plus GAIN report a higher reduction in PCS 3 months post-intervention compared to participants allocated to enhanced usual care only. Methods The study is a stepped-wedge cluster-randomised trial with five clusters. The 8-week interdisciplinary GAIN program will be rolled out to clusters in 3-month intervals. Power calculation yield at least 180 participants to be enrolled. Primary outcome is mean change in PCS measured by the Rivermead Post-Concussion Symptoms Questionnaire from enrolment to 3 months after end of treatment. Secondary outcomes include participation in and satisfaction with everyday activities, labour market attachment and other behavioural measures. Self-reported outcomes are measured at baseline, by end of treatment and at 3, 6, and 18 months after end of treatment. Registry-based outcomes are measured up to 36 months after concussion. Discussion The trial will provide important information concerning the effectiveness of the GAIN intervention in a municipality setting. Furthermore, it will provide knowledge of possible barriers and facilitators that may be relevant for future implementation of GAIN in different settings. Trial registration The current GAIN trial is registered in ClinicalTrials.gov (study identifier: NCT04798885 ) on 20 October 2020.

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