Cost of Care in Cerebral Palsy Claims
I was reviewing a report the other day from an Occupational Therapist who has provided me with an opinion as to the Future Care needs for one of my clients, a child who suffers from Cerebal Palsy (CP) as a result of birth trauma.
I was struck by how sophisticated experts in this field have become and how advances in technology have created products that can help reduce some of the significant challenges that victims of CP (and their familes) face in trying to lead a normal productive life.
What causes CP?
I have written several articles about CP and other serious brain injuries.
CP is not a disease nor is it genetic. Rather it is an infliction that can occur through complications during birth. See for example: Cerebral Palsy Claims: The link between medical malpractice and CP.
CP happens when damaged motor centres in the brain cause abnormal muscle coordination and reflexes.
While the effects of CP vary in each case, the assistance needed to properly care for a child with CP can be extraordinary.
However, there are a number of useful products available to help those who suffer from this affliction. I have broken the list down into 3 categories: (1) Personal movement (2) Transportation and (3) Communication.
Someone afflicted with CP may have trouble walking or moving around. Devices to help with personal movement can be both practical for daily life and therapeutic.
Wheelchairs: Particularly useful when both legs have been affected and walking is impossible or extremely difficult. There are different types of wheelchairs specially designed for people with CP.
Adaptive tricycles: Specially designed trike for people with special needs. These trikes can help those with CP improve their muscle strength and coordination in addition to being a fun activity.
Standing equipment: Similar to those standing scooters that parents provide to their toddlers to teach them to walk, there are a number of similar products designed to help children with CP to stand and hold themselves upright.
Bath chairs: Some people with CP struggle to sit up, making bathing difficult. There are adaptive chairs that enable people with CP to take a bath on their own. The best bet would be to talk to a physical or occupational therapist about the best type of bath chair to choose from.
Stair glides: Getting up and down stairs can be impossible for some people with CP. A mechanical lift or glide can be invaluable, especially for those in storied houses.
Car seats: The American Academy of Pediatrics assigns different recommendations for car seats when travelling with a special needs child. Adaptive car seats will keep your child upright, secure and safe while you are on the road. The type of adaptive seat you select will depend on the extent of the child’s affliction.
Adaptive vehicles: Rather than using an adaptive seat, you may want to consider an adaptive vehicle. If your child requires the use of a wheelchair to ambulate, you may want to consider an adaptive vehicle that will allow them to travel easily with the chair.
Just as important as their ability to move around, you want your child to be able to communicate and express themselves. CP can affect speech and the ability to write, draw, and paint.
There are some specialized tools available to assist them in finding their voice.
Speech devices: Some people with CP suffer from muscle spasms in their mouth and throat area, making speech difficult. There are devices, including apps for the iPad, available to allow people with speech impediments to communicate without needing perfect voice control.
Adaptive art supplies: Children with CP sometimes have problems gripping or grasping items. This can make it difficult for them to benefit from ‘arts-and-crafts’ activities. There are special paint brushes, oversized markers and crayons and other modified art supplies that will help people with CP to express themselves artistically.
Writing tools: Similar to the art supplies, there are adaptive writing instruments to help people with CP to write or draw.
By making the best use of today’s technology we can improve the lives of those with Cerebral Palsy.
One of the many challenges in representing children who have suffered CP as a result of a birth injury is ensuring they are provided with sufficient compensation to help the injured child do more for himself/herself so that the child can lead a happy productive life.
Just because you have CP doesn’t mean you should miss out on everyday activities, adventures or artistic expression.