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In my prior post, Communication Board for Children with CP (Cerebral Palsy), I spoke about the 5 types of CP. For this article I want to go into a little more detail on the most severe form – spastic quadriplegia CP and discuss treatment options – therapies and home care. Spastic quadriplegia CP means that both arms and legs are affected along with the torso (trunk) and face. Seizures are typically involved as well as trouble speaking. Also, I will be telling you about a mechanical lift that you will need for caring for your child with this form of cerebral palsy and explain the question “What is a Hoyer patient lift?”
Spastic quadriplegia CP
Spastic quadriplegia is the most severe and serious form of CP and causes the loss of use of the whole body. This is because more of the brain is affected due to extensive brain damage or congenital malformations (abnormal brain development in utero) which in turn causes the most complications. These complications include but are not limited to:
- Inability to walk
- Speech is profoundly affected
- Swallowing is impaired
- Floppy neck (no control)
- Moderate to severe learning disabilities
- Communication difficulties
In addition, the pull of spastic muscles on the bones can cause severe problems. Children with this type of CP are especially prone to scoliosis which is a curvature of the spine or a back deformity.
There will be a team of health care professionals – pediatrician, nurse, physical therapist, occupational therapist, neurologist (a medical doctor who specializes in evaluating, diagnosing, and treating diseases that affect the nervous system which includes the brain, spinal cord and all other nerves throughout the body), speech/swallow therapist – who will work closely with the child and parents. There will be ongoing treatment plans and therapy sessions required for maximum, possible comfort and quality of life for this child.
Two of the most important goals are for comfort of the child and increasing mobility. These children almost always require surgery to correct joint dislocations and shortened muscles. Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) is a common surgery associated with children who have spastic cerebral palsy. This is a surgical treatment on the lower spinal cord to treat spasticity.
Physical therapy plays a big role in caring for these children. The goal is to provide as much independence as possible and focuses on flexibility exercises to help stretch out stiff muscles. Exercise programs will be tailored to each child’s needs and taught to caregivers to maintain these exercises at home.
Part of the daily exercise regimen will include range-of-motion (ROM) and stretching exercises to improve joint mobility and to help keep the muscles and tendons as soft as possible. Engaging in regular exercise can help improve motor function.
Occupational therapy is used to help the child’s ability to perform daily tasks such as brushing their teeth, combing their hair and other daily activities. It will help them at school too. This therapy also centers on anything that needs to be done with the hands.
Speech therapy is another important therapy as it is used to strengthen the muscles of the mouth used for speech which helps with articulation and coordination. Some children may experience difficulty swallowing with associated drooling. The speech therapist also evaluates the swallowing reflex and determines if there is a problem with difficulty swallowing food or drink.
Regarding the speech difficulties, the speech therapist will use a communication device with the child. The child will learn to use this device and it will not only build the child’s confidence, but it will improve motor and cognitive abilities, (the ability of the brain to process, retrieve, and store information). I have written about this in my prior post, Communication Board for Children with CP (Cerebral Palsy).
Caring for a chlld with spastic quadriplegia CP at home
As a parent or caregiver for a child with this form of CP, life can feel overwhelming at times. First, I want to say to you, do not hesitate to ask for help. Taking care of this special needs child is a 24/7 routine and it is okay to have help. Second, it is vitally important to have the tools you need especially as the child grows up. He will be getting larger and you will need to be able to properly lift him from bed to chair, chair to bed, etc.
Ask your doctor or nurse about a local support group that you can attend. There, you will meet other people who are dealing with the same things and you will not feel alone. It is amazing what these support groups can do for your mental well-being.
What is a Hoyer lift (patient lift)?
A Hoyer lift is a brand name for “patient lift.” It is an electronic crane designed to transfer a person from bed to wheel chair, commode or bath chair and transfer back. Nurses use these in hospitals and there are Hoyer lifts designed for use at home. The Hoyer lift or patient lift can be used by one person so if you are at home with no one else to help you, it will be no problem transferring your loved one from the bed to the chair with this lift.
How do I use a patient lift?
I will give you a guided tour of how to move a patient from the bed to the wheelchair using a patient lift.
First, take the body sling and fold it in half with the smooth side on the inside. Roll the patient on his side and tuck the sling underneath his back. Then, go to the other side of the bed and roll the patient over the sling onto his other side and then pull the other half of the sling out. The sling should now be flat on the bed under the patient and then roll the patient on his back.
Next, bring the inside leg straps of the sling up and bring the outside straps up over the outside of his legs. You want the straps to be mid-thigh for the most comfortable transfer. Then cross the leg straps bringing one set of straps through the other – like an “X”.
You are now ready to attach the patient lift. Bring the lift to the bed. Lower the sling attachment bar and attach the leg straps in an “X” fashion to the attachment bar. Then attach the shoulder straps to the attachment bar.
With one arm under the patient’s legs and the other hand on the lift controls, gently raise the patient using the controls and pivot around to just above the wheel chair or regular chair and then slowly lower the patient down to the chair.
When the patient is in the chair, detach the shoulder and leg straps. Then, lean the patient to one side and roll the sling under the patient. Go to the other side of the patient, lean the patient the opposite way and lift the sling out from under the patient.
You have just transferred your patient!
Invacare Reliant Battery-Powered Lift Kit, with Large Full Body Mesh Sling
If you are in need of a good and reliable patient lift for your home, I recommend the Invacare Reliant Battery-Powered Lift Kit with Large Full Body Sling.
This patient lift is of high quality, easy to use and can hold a person up to 450 pounds. This lift comes with a full body sling so you won’t have to purchase it separately. It has many features including a 360 degree rotation and a 6-point hookup that allows for Invacare chain-free slings and older slings with chains or straps. Click here to find all the details of this lift.
Purchase your patient lift here!
Invacare Reliant Battery-Powered Lift
Conclusion and final thoughts
All children with spastic quadriplegia CP deserve to have the highest quality of life possible and they deserve all our love. They are precious children and with all the treatments available for them we can certainly do our best to keep them as comfortable and happy as possible.
You as the parent or caregiver also deserve to be as happy and need to look out for your own well-being. Taking care of a special needs child is no easy task and can be both physically and mentally draining. That is why it is important you have the necessary tools you need to make your care giving as easy and safe as can be.
I will be adding more posts on this subject in the near future in regard to other caregiving aids/tools for the care of these children. In the meantime, I hope you seriously consider getting this patient lift for your child and yourself.
Questions or comments?
Please leave me your questions or comments in the comment section below and I will respond promptly.
Yours in looking for the best for our babes,