Comprehensive Concussion Program   

Comprehensive Concussion Care Offered at Hackensack Meridian JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute 

Concussion specialist contributing to new CARF concussion guidelines

Comprehensive Concussion Program

The JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute Concussion Program was established in 2015 with Christine Greiss, D.O., as the Medical Director. She had a vision leading to initial and secondary protocols for ongoing complications, such as migraines, vision and balance issues. The clinic treats concussions resulting from sports, assaults, auto accidents and falls, and various ages and health states, including teen athletes. They offer options when traditional therapies don’t work and help optimize treatment regimens. “This clinic is unique in that it cares for all concussions, especially the 20% that are resistant to the standard of care therapies with high quality clinical results” stated Sara J. Cuccurullo, M.D., Chair, Professor, Medical Director and VP of the JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute.

In the JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Concussion Program, patients share their full concussion story, and receive a full clinical exam, rather than giving a basic medical history. Program care providers evaluate sleep, coping mechanisms and habits formed around migraine and dizziness management. They also take a deep dive into work history, childhood development, nutrition and education.

They check for symptoms that may seem unrelated, such as bowel or menstruation changes, and work closely with neurologists and primary care providers.

Treatments are tailored for symptoms and based on how effective prior regimens were. They’re also comprehensive, and may include balance and speech-based therapy, as well as input from ENT, endocrinologist, psychiatrist, psychologist and cognitive assessment consultations.

“The goal is enhancing quality of life, and helping patients ultimately transition back to work or school–an alternate path to lifetime disability,” Dr. Greiss said. 

The program also engages in research to help define future treatment protocols, including study of brain hormone changes following concussion currently underway. 

The success of JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute’s Concussion Program, directed by Christine Greiss, D.O., recently caught the attention of the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). 

The organization conducted a site visit to learn about the extensive multidisciplinary approach at JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute, and leaders invited Dr. Greiss to join their physician author committee. 

The group meets virtually to discuss treatment protocols in different concussion scenarios, and plans to present the new guidelines along with professional training at the 2023 American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation annual meeting. The guidelines will call for monitoring for symptoms two weeks following injury and closer evaluations of cases that do not involve loss of consciousness. 

The guidelines will provide a community tool for all health care providers, including psychiatrists and emergency medicine physicians, and will elevate concussion care to a more personalized, multidisciplinary approach with ongoing concussion symptom management. 

“We’re charged to create a recommended care path to ensure quality of care for every patient,” Dr. Greiss said. The committee’s next endeavor is building professional and community awareness of the guidelines.

Serving on the CARF physician committee allows Dr. Greiss to compare notes and share unique case experiences with other leading concussion specialists across the nation. This experience has broadened her own toolkit of alternate therapy options, such as considering eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) for concussion patients with PTSD.

Learn more about innovative rehabilitative care at JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute.

2023-2024 Best Hospital Rehabilitation Award from U.S. News & World Report
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