Is there a cure for Cerebral Palsy?

There is currently no cure for cerebral palsy. The injury to the brain which causes the condition, and its effects, are permanent. The functional impairments and disabilities which arise from the condition are managed by a range of treatments or therapies.

What treatments are available for cerebral palsy?

We work with each aspect of the individual’s disability to maximise mobility, dexterity, communication, independence and quality of life. Although cerebral palsy is non-progressive, inadequate therapeutic and medical input can increase the severity and impact of the affected person’s disability over time and cause harm to their health by increasing their risks of complications.

Treatments and therapies for cerebral palsy can include:

  • physiotherapy - uses stretching and exercises to maintain physical ability and range of movement;
  • speech therapy - helps with speech, communication and swallowing difficulties affecting feeding;
  • occupational therapy (OT) - helps overcome or ease difficulties with carrying out everyday tasks, sometimes involving specialist equipment or suggesting ways to make doing things easier;
  • medical treatment or intervention may be given for muscle spasms and stiffness, to control epilepsy, provide naso-gastric or gastrostomy feeding or for other difficulties;
  • psychological treatment or counselling - can help those with cerebral palsy or serious neurological disability cope with the emotional and psychological pressures of living with severe disability;

Does the NHS provide treatments for cerebral palsy?

Each individual’s condition and range of impairments are unique and treatments should be managed in a coordinated, multi-disciplinary approach to ensure that those needs are adequately and appropriately met. Our experience is that, in most cases, over time, parents become frustrated that the NHS is unable to provide timely and adequate therapies to meet their disabled child’s needs. Their realisation that inadequate NHS provision is affecting their child’s therapeutic treatment and ultimately their health and wellbeing is often a key reason for, and ultimately provides one of the key benefits of, bringing a claim.

What is the long-term outlook for a child with cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy affects people differently. At birth the full extent of the condition usually cannot be determined. The nature of the disability becomes apparent over time as the child develops but the brain injury itself is non-progressive. Aside from their disability, many people with cerebral palsy are healthy and can live long and fulfilling lives. Deterioration in their disability may be caused by additional strain or ‘wear and tear’ on posture and joints or from inadequate therapeutic management of the physical condition. Individuals with more severe disability which greatly limits their mobility, affects their swallowing or with uncontrolled epilepsy are at greater risk of life-threatening harm from chest infections, choking and seizures.

When a child is given a diagnosis of cerebral palsy, their parents may feel overwhelmed with fear or despair. This is natural and understandable – the term ‘cerebral palsy’ is used to describe an extensive range of disabilities and their expectations will be affected by images they hold at the most severe end of a very wide spectrum. Our experience is that nothing is set in stone. A diagnosis in infancy cannot predict the future and good quality care and support can make a big difference to the child and the family’s life. Many of our former clients have obtained university degrees or can work and live independently with appropriate support. Children given short life expectations have outlived them for many years, which is why we often secure judgments and early interim payments to meet the child’s immediate needs and then wait until we can gain a better understanding of their condition now and their outlook for the future before settling their claim, usually with a capital sum plus annual payments guaranteed for life.

If you have any other questions about Cerebral Palsy check out our What is Cerebral Palsy? page here or contact the specialist team by email at cerebralpalsy@boyesturner.com.

We cannot thank you enough for your continued hard work and support, without, which this would not have resulted in anything

MRS B

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