Therapy service use in children and adolescents with cerebral palsy: An Australian perspective

Elaine Meehan, Adrienne Harvey, Susan M. Reid, Dinah S. Reddihough, Katrina Williams, Kylie E. Crompton, Suhaila Omar, Adam Scheinberg

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Abstract

Aim The aim of this study was to describe the patterns of therapy service use for a sample of children and adolescents with cerebral palsy over a 1 year period and to identify factors associated with frequency of therapy and parental satisfaction with therapy frequency. Methods Parents of 83 children completed a survey on their child's use of occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech and language pathology services over the previous year. Participants were randomly selected from a sample stratified by age and Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) level. Results During the year prior to survey completion, 83% of children had received occupational therapy, 88% had received physiotherapy and 60% had received speech and language pathology services. Frequency of therapy was higher for younger children (P < 0.01), those classified at GMFCS levels IV-V (P < 0.05) and those attending schools specifically for children with disabilities. Conclusions Current structures for therapy service delivery for children with cerebral palsy are systems-based, and age-based funding systems and the organisation of services around the education system are preventing the delivery of needs-based therapy. Paediatricians that care for children and young people with cerebral palsy need to pay particular attention to those that may miss out on therapy due to age or school type, and support these families in accessing appropriate therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)308-314
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Volume52
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • cerebral palsy
  • health services research
  • occupational therapy
  • physiotherapy
  • speech and language pathology

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