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NICE guideline on cerebral palsy due to be published this month

Medical negligence lawyer Despina Kavadas welcomes new CP guideline

CP child doing physio

13 January 2017

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) first started developing guidelines on the diagnosis and management of cerebral palsy in 2014. The consultation on the draft guideline ended in September 2016 and the final guideline is due to be published this month.

The draft guideline focuses on recognising and intervening in cases of cerebral palsy to help address the developmental and clinical challenges that are associated with the condition.  A different guideline (NICE guideline 145) concentrates on the motor disorder of cerebral palsy.

The draft guideline on the diagnosis and management of cerebral palsy reinforces how important it is that a child with cerebral palsy receives early multidisciplinary care, and has access to a team which provides expertise including paediatric and adult medicine, nursing care, physiotherapy and occupational therapy, orthotics and rehabilitation, speech and language therapy, dietetics, psychology and social care.  

It identifies the importance of good communication between service providers involved in the care of children and young people with cerebral palsy.

It stresses the importance of information and support focusing as much on the child’s functional abilities as well as on any functional impairment, and in providing up to date information to parents and carers on relevant topics such as diagnosis, aetiology, prognosis, natural history, comorbidities, what specialist equipment  is available, and the available resources and access to financial, respite social care and other support, educational placement and transition to using adult services.  

It makes recommendations about how to assess and manage the difficulties and challenges faced by a child with cerebral palsy such as speech, language and communication, optimising nutritional status, managing saliva control, low bone mineral density, pain distress and discomfort, sleep disturbances, mental health problems, sensory and perceptual difficulties, visual impairment, hearing impairment, learning disabilities, behavioural difficulties, vomiting regurgitation and reflux, constipation, epilepsy and care needs.   

The medical negligence and birth injury team at Leigh Day has many years’ experience of acting for children who have cerebral palsy caused by obstetric clinical negligence. Many of our solicitors are recognised as leaders in their field.

Medical negligence solicitor Despina Kavadas said:

“The challenges of caring for a child with cerebral palsy cannot be underestimated.  This new guideline recognises the many complex needs that need to be addressed for such children.

“Many of our clients will recognise the different areas of expertise identified in the guideline as being essential to the well-being of their children and I welcome this new guideline. I hope that it will help in addressing the very complex needs of a child with cerebral palsy. Given that the draft consultation identifies areas in which research is recommended, I hope that the guideline will be reviewed and updated to take into account the research results and advances in medicine.”

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