Cerebral palsy is mostly thought of as a condition in childhood, but the effects continue into adulthood and can cause secondary health conditions as a person ages that can have a profound effect on a person’s quality of life. People with cerebral palsy, particularly in very severe cases, will require lifelong care and support.
When caring for adults with cerebral palsy it’s important to take a holistic approach to their care, taking their individualised needs into account and creating an evidence based complex care plan. Find out more about cerebral palsy and the best ways to care for adults with this condition in this blog.
What is cerebral palsy?
Cerebral Palsy (CP) is the name of a group of conditions that affects a person’s ability to control their mobility and motor function. Classed as a neurological injury it can also cause developmental delays and learning disabilities. The condition is caused by abnormal brain development or damage to the brain usually before or during birth or in early childhood. The are five types of CP, Spastic, Dyskinectic, Ataxic, Hypotonic, or Mixed cerebral palsy, each with their own set of symptoms.
Symptoms of CP can include:
● Muscle weakness and stiffness
● Lack of balance and coordination
● Floppy limbs
● Involuntary hand, arm and leg movements
● Difficulty communicating
● Difficulty swallowing
● Chronic pain
Caring for adults with cerebral palsy
CP manifests in everyone differently and, although not a progressive condition, symptoms do change with age. The physical strain of CP symptoms on the body can cause secondary health issues in adults such as musculoskeletal problems, fatigue, chronic pain and osteoporosis. As CP is a form of brain injury, it can also cause epilepsy and seizures in some people.
Those who have cerebral palsy use up to five times the amount of energy when moving. This can cause issues like post-impairment syndrome which includes symptoms such as bone deformities, muscle weaknesses, pain, fatigue and repetitive motion injuries.
Premature aging is another factor that affects those with CP, causing stiff muscles and making it difficult to walk. People with severe cerebral palsy may be unable to walk or take care of themselves and require 24 hour care. Swallowing disorders are also common in adults with CP, so specialist feeding may also be required for severe cases.
There are many ways in which a person with CP may need to be cared for. Assisting in daily tasks and activities, helping them to communicate, managing their symptoms, reducing pain and administering medication are all part of caring for adults with cerebral palsy.
Keeping active and maintaining mobility is essential for those with CP to enable them to thrive and stay as independent as possible. The use of mobility aids such as wheelchairs, walkers or crutches can all help a person stay in control of their condition and reduce their pain.
Cerebral palsy Care with HFH
Our holistic care begins with a comprehensive assessment of a person’s needs, taking into consideration their lifestyle, preferences and clinical requirements to form a person-centred care plan.
Our expertly trained carers offer both specialsed in-home clinical care and compassionate emotional support for clients with CP, no matter how complex their condition. Our holistic approach to care empowers clients to live their lives to the best of their abilities and stay a part of their community.
As the symptoms of CP can change over time, we ensure that our care plans are consistently reviewed and updated by our Nurse Case Managers to meet the evolving needs of our clients. Cerebral palsy symptoms can be greatly improved through speech and occupational therapy and supporting our clients in meeting their therapy and rehabilitation goals is an essential part of our client care.
Although symptoms do change, it is important to remember that cerebral palsy does not get worse over time and people with the condition have around the same life expectancy as the general population. For those living with cerebral palsy, we know it can be frustrating at times but with the right care and support in place a person can live a very fulfilling and happy life.
If you or your loved one are in need of specialist care or you would like to find out more about our complex care services then get in touch here or contact our team on 0208 605 9712.