Children and adults who suffer head trauma should be seen and treated quickly to avoid potentially serious complications, including disability or death, NICE has warned.
Draft guidance released by NICE states that people who have suffered a head injury and begin to have seizures, repeated vomiting, loss of consciousness or suspected skull fracture should be given a CT brain scan within one hour.
Others should be scanned within four to eight hours of their injury, depending on its severity.
Nurses and doctors should give verbal and printed advice to patients with any type of head injury, as well as to their families and carers. The advice should be accessible for the patient’s age.
Professor Mark Baker, director of the centre for clinical practice at NICE, said: “Since we last published our head injury guideline, there have been new medical advances and developments in the way the NHS works – such as the 2012 introduction of regional trauma networks.
“Following our previous guidelines on head injury, new imaging techniques have become standard assessment tools, more people have their care managed in specialist centres, and fewer people are dying from their head injury. Once published, our new update will contribute towards improving care further, preventing disability and saving lives.”
Released in January, the updated guideline will replace some parts of the current guidance. NICE states that the NHS should continue to follow the present recommendations.