What is Paediatric Physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy is a healthcare profession that promotes the health and wellbeing of all.
Physiotherapists are responsible for the assessment and physical management of those needing treatment.
Paediatric physiotherapy is the treatment and care of babies, children, and young people from birth to 19 years.
Physiotherapists who work with children are specialist practitioners who have the right skills and specific knowledge to deliver appropriate care and education to encourage family involvement. They have expert knowledge and experience of child development and of childhood conditions.
All babies, children and young people are important. They each have their own unique personality and potential. They deserve the best possible care and nurture to support their health and development.
What do Paediatric physiotherapists do?
Intervention is based upon an assessment of the child’s or young person’s needs and the formation of an individual treatment programme if indicated.
Paediatric physiotherapists recognise the importance of working in partnership with the child, parents, and carers to maximise a child’s physical abilities and independence. We work closely with other professionals including Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists, Complex nurses, and Consultant Paediatricians. We also have well established links to other services including social care and education.
Paediatric physiotherapists should have a good understanding of;
- child development
- childhood diseases and conditions that may impact on development and well being
- therapeutic interventions that enable and optimise development and well being
- the need to place the child at the centre of planning
- the impact that having a sick or disabled child has on family life
- how to keep children safe
- how to ensure that children and young people make choices
- how to develop their own skills and practice
- how to develop services in line with Government guidance committed to improving quality and life chances for children
Paediatric physiotherapists treat babies, children, and young people with a wide range of conditions. Some are similar to those seen in adults and some are specific to children:
- Burns and plastics
- Childhood cancers
- Congenital disorders e.g. Spina Bifida, limb deficiencies
- Co-ordination difficulties
- Developmental delay
- Learning difficulties
- Neonatal care
- Neuromuscular disorders e.g. Muscular Dystrophy
- Neurological conditions e.g. Cerebral Palsy, Head Injury, Spinal Cord Injury
- Orthopaedic conditions e.g. Talipes, Torticollis, Plagiocephaly, Perthes
- Rheumatological conditions e.g. Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
Who can we help?
We see children and young people with a variety of difficulties and conditions. Sometimes only one appointment is necessary, and sometimes we are involved from birth to adulthood. Our assessment and treatment aims to promote independence and help every child achieve their potential.
Who can refer?
- Health Visitors
- Health Care Professionals
- Consultants and Community Paediatricians
How can we help?
- Provide information and advice for parents / carers and other service providers (health / education)
- Provide activity programs and ways of supporting the child / young person in different environments. The program may be carried out in partnership with parents / carers and / or others involved in the child’s / young person’s care following the Physiotherapists recommendations.
- Recommendation of specialist equipment to support functional skills, learning and promote independence.
- Involvement in transition planning with regards to mobility.
- Direct therapy with children / young people as required
- Standardised assessments as indicated
- Joint assessments if indicated with other health and medical professionals
How long will my child have to wait to be seen?
While we aim to see every child / young person in a timely manner, we do have a waiting list. If the referral meets our criteria the case will then either be placed on our waiting list or allocated to a Physiotherapist depending on urgency, which is determined by level of risk.
What will be expected of you?
We ask parents / carers that you bring your child to all the agreed appointments. Goals and programs will be agreed with the child (where possible) and parents / carers. Any programs or recommendations need to be supported at home by the family for a successful outcome.
English isn’t my first language. Can I have an interpreter?
An interpreter can be arranged for you.
What to expect at your first appointment?
- We will aim to find out about your child’s difficulties and how Physiotherapy may help
- We advise parents to come to the initial appointment to give consent and the information that is required.
- You will be asked about your child’s development, their abilities, and any difficulties that they are having. Your child will be involved as much as possible in these discussions.
- Your child will need to be appropriately undressed for the Physiotherapist to be able to physically examine them. The child / young person may want to wear shorts.
- Once assessed the Physiotherapist will then discuss their findings with you and establish a plan for treatment if required. This may include what we can do to help you and what you and your child can do at home to continue treatment