Improving Quality of Life in Children with Cerebral Palsy
A cerebral palsy diagnosis can greatly impact the quality of life for both a child and their entire family. Although living with cerebral palsy may necessitate various changes and accommodations, there are ways of improving the wellbeing, comfort, and happiness of children with cerebral palsy.
What Impacts Quality of Life for Children With CP and to What Extent?
There are various factors that can impact cerebral palsy quality of life and affect the everyday lives of children with CP:
- School. Since many children with CP experience various developmental delays or learning disabilities, finding the right fit in a school or special education program can be tough.
- Physical discomfort. In some cases, pain can be a big factor, as many of the accompanying conditions and symptoms cause pain that needs to be managed.
- Safety. Whether it be communication issues, physical impairments, or the likelihood of becoming the victim of a crime, taking safety precautions for your child is essential.
- Physical and mental impacts. Physical, cognitive, and intellectual difficulties can impact the everyday lives of children and their families. Mobility, balance, and other key functions can be compromised, all of them impacting the quality of your child’s life.
- Daily functions. Certain day-to-day functions, such as eating, speaking, and walking may be adversely impacted by cerebral palsy, leading to difficulties in everyday life.
- Communication. Depending on the child’s impairments, communication may be a struggle, leading to frustrations within the family.
- Friendships. Social and peer interactions may be few or non-existent, making it difficult for the child to enjoy bonding opportunities with others.
- Travel. In many cases, going places with your child can be difficult, particularly if those places are not handicap-accessible or pose potential safety hazards.
- Mental health issues. Mental health is yet another issue that can impact the quality of life for children with cerebral palsy, whether due to behavioral issues, stress, or other mental health issues.
How Can Quality of Life be Improved?
Improving quality of life boils down to several key areas: maximizing independence, managing pain and other symptoms, and enhancing social and intellectual interactions. Specifically, parents, guardians, and caretakers might mitigate the impact of factors that negatively impact quality of life through these tips:
- In school, communicate specific needs in advance, ask for support, and ensure that a plan is in place to help your child achieve their best during the school day
- Consider medication to control pain, spasticity, and other symptoms of CP
- Adapt your home environment with accessible structural components, so that your child can be as independent as possible at home
- Engage in therapy or other treatments that may make it easier for your child to engage in everyday activities
- Turn to assistive devices for enhanced communication and ways to make it easier for your child to communicate with you
- Look into potential ways to make transportation easier, whether through adaptive technologies or accessibility
- Seek out trusted social and peer interactions that will allow your child to experience social bonding
- Provide safe opportunities for your child to have fun, and for your family to enjoy activities together
- Promote a lifestyle that includes as much activity your child can reasonably engage in
- Teach new skills to your child
- Find an extended community of people who can provide a comforting place to visit for you and your child
- Familiarize yourself with public and private spaces that are accessible and will allow your family to enjoy time away from home safely together
- Line up help, and take advantage of the resources that are available to you
What to Do If You Suspect Medical Negligence or Malpractice Caused Your Child’s CP
In some cases, cerebral palsy is a direct result of an error made by a medical professional or hospital during or shortly after birth. If the difficulties before, during, or after your child’s birth could have been prevented or mitigated by competent medical care, you may have a valid claim for medical malpractice against the practitioner and/or hospital.
The Cerebral Palsy Family Lawyers at Janet, Janet & Suggs have over 40 years of experience with medical malpractice cases. We have a nationally recognized track record of successful verdicts and settlements that demonstrate our commitment to working for justice and fair compensation. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your case and learn about your rights. There are no fees unless your case is won.
William R. “Topper” Cramer, RN, MBA, MS, CCRN, CFRN, EMT-P
Legal Nurse Consultant | Nurse Paralegal
Topper has been involved in emergency, transport, and critical care medicine since 1978 when he became an EMT in high school. A United States Air Force veteran, he remains active as a pre-hospital RN/paramedic, certified flight nurse, and critical care nurse. In addition to his professional role as a nurse consultant/nurse paralegal, he is the Chief of Operations at Walkersville Volunteer Rescue in Frederick County, Maryland. READ FULL BIO