Cerebral palsy and the importance of lifelong physiotherapy for sufferers

Posted: 17/02/2015


Cerebral palsy is a condition that affects muscle control and, consequently, movement. It is caused by injury to the brain before, during or after birth. 

There is no cure for cerebral palsy but various therapies, including physiotherapy are crucial to prevent problems developing and to ensure that the affected person remains as independent as possible. Early intervention is key to ensuring that an individual optimises their potential within their disability and a diagnosis should, therefore, be made at an early stage to facilitate access to the required therapies. 

A recent inquiry by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), instigated by Action Cerebral Palsy, led to a recommendation that there is improved training for those working with children with cerebral palsy to ensure that specific needs, such as physiotherapy, can be identified as early as possible. 

Elizabeth Gray, chair of the Association of Paediatric Chartered Physiotherapists (APCP) has stressed that “early intervention improves outcomes” and notes that physiotherapy plays an important role in “encouraging function, activity and participation”. 

There is a significant variation in the provision of physiotherapy for children, which differs across age groups. Given the relatively limited periods of state-funded physiotherapy provided to affected children by qualified physiotherapists, it is vital that their parents and carers are given guidance on the therapy required so that they can do the exercises with those concerned to maximise function. 

The need for physiotherapy continues into adulthood but the amount of provision available in adulthood tends to drop off significantly. 

We act on behalf of many individuals with cerebral palsy. A recurring theme is that they have insufficient state-funded physiotherapy provision and that top up provision is therefore required from childhood into adulthood. A claim is generally made for the additional physiotherapy required to meet that individual’s needs. 

If you or someone you care for would like advice in relation to a potential claim for clinical negligence resulting in cerebral palsy, please get in touch.


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