An Occupational Therapy Pathway for Mild Traumatic Brain Injury ED presentations across the lifespan

Grant ID: EMLE-206R36-2021-HESLOP

Project Summary

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) is a significant burden to Queensland emergency departments (EDs) in adults and children. Between 2019-2020, there were 958 presentations of isolated mTBI to Gold Coast Hospital Health Service EDs, of these 73% presented outside of usual business hours and 26% re-presented within 3 weeks of their initial presentation, complaining of persistent symptoms.

The Occupational Therapy (OT) Outpatient Service identified an innovative medical substitution practice model involving specialist follow up for patients to facilitate recovery, link into appropriate specialty referrals where indicated, and prevent ED representations. It is anticipated that the implementation of the OT pathway will lead to enhanced clinical outcomes (including quality of life and return to work/school), decreased ED length of stay for monitoring of symptoms and decreased ED readmission.

The primary aim of this research is to evaluate the impact of this Occupational Therapy (OT) intervention pathway for patients presenting to ED with a mTBI outside of business hours compared to pre-implementation care. The study also aims to evaluate the feasibility of implementing the pathway in relation to adherence, patient and staff acceptability and satisfaction.



- Heslop, L., Murray, A., Implementation of an emergency department occupational therapy mild traumatic brain injury pathway (EPoster presentation). 30th National Conference and Exhibition 2023- Occupational Therapy Australia. Cairns June 21-23rd, 2023.

- Murray, A., Ballingall, A., Occupational Therapy mild Traumatic Brain Injury Pathway from Emergency Department (Oral Presentation). OT Exchange Conference, Melbourne, 9-10 June 2022.


Amount Awarded


Grant Scheme


Principal Investigator:
Ms Lauren Heslop

Co Investigators:
Mrs Aleksandra Ballingal
A/Prof Shane George
Dr Rachel Wenke
Dr Donald Campbell
Ms Alice Murray


Collaborating Institutions

CONTACT US +61 7 3720 5700 Suite 1B, Terraces, 19 Lang Parade, Milton Qld 4064