Life Care Planning Facts for Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is a deeply complicated, permanent group of movement disorders affecting each patient differently. From a life care planning perspective, in working with CP patients who have experienced additional injury or disability, the complications multiply. The fact is this: no two cerebral palsy cases are alike. And in my line of work, the utmost attention must be paid to what sets them apart.
What is Cerebral Palsy?
The causes of cerebral palsy are myriad. They can include:
- Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE): a brain injury caused by the lack of oxygen to the brain
- Premature birth or birth complications
- Brain infection, hemorrhage, or injury
- Severe jaundice
- Maternal infection
- Fetal stroke
Cerebral palsy is a broad term that often diagnoses damage to a developing brain. While it is not progressive, its symptoms and your overall functional abilities can change over time. Symptoms are often noticed when a patient is young: as an infant, baby, or toddler, a child can begin exhibiting abnormal reflexes, eye muscle imbalance, or reduced range of motion.
Life Care Planning for Patients with Cerebral Palsy
In my practice, many cerebral palsy patients are most often kids, and (less often adults) brought in at around two or three years of age. Brain damage has been found and the family requires assistance with the creation of a life care plan. In other cases, I am called in as an expert witness or as a consulting physician on a medical malpractice case including CP.
These are often complex cases on top of complex cases—as you can imagine. The medical records oftentimes exceed 20,000 pages. The number of physicians who must be contacted commonly reaches a dozen. A home visit is almost always required. In terms of treatments, many cerebral palsy patients use assistive aids such as special eyeglasses, hearing aids, supportive braces, etc. Medications treat issues like spasticity. Therapies encompass speech, physical, and occupational needs. Dental work, social services, respite care for caregivers and parents, and surgeries like the ones to release joint contractures are all common as well.
If you or a loved one is looking for a life care planner in connection to a cerebral palsy case, I highly recommend someone with a great deal of CP experience for all of the reasons listed above. If the life care planning expert you bring on is not a doctor, be sure to bring a physician, a medical doctor with the proper training, education, and experience in for a consultation. Your family will benefit greatly from his or her input. In any case—someone well-trained, well-educated, and experienced should be working with you. My team and I are happy to answer the questions you have regarding life care planning and cerebral palsy. Send us an email or call and we will get back to you quickly.