What are the Expenses of Cerebral Palsy?
Raising and taking care of a child with cerebral palsy can be extremely expensive and emotionally and physically draining. Individuals with cerebral palsy require extraordinary medical care. The reason the word extraordinary is used is that, unlike people who do not have cerebral palsy, individuals with cerebral palsy need to go to many more doctors’ appointments and require much more treatment beyond just going to a primary care doctor once or twice a year for annual checkups, and that’s why it is extraordinary. The services and medical care that a child with cerebral palsy requires generally falls into five primary categories: Physician and medical care, medications, rehabilitation and therapy, adaptive equipment, and daily care.
Physician and medical care are the specialists that an individual with cerebral palsy is going to need to see throughout his or her lifetime. Many of these specialists will need to be seen multiple times a year. Those specialists include pediatric neurology, pediatric gastroenterology, electrophysiology for individuals with seizure disorders, and developmental pediatrics, just to name a few. Part of the physician and medical care also includes emergency medical services. Unfortunately, children affected with cerebral palsy do require emergency room visits. Many children with cerebral palsy require emergency room visits for problems with seizures. Many individuals with cerebral palsy who have difficulty with secretions in their lungs battle pneumonia constantly, and that can result in emergency room admissions.
Medications is the second category for individuals with cerebral palsy, and the medications can range from something as simple as a gastrointestinal reflux medication such as Nexium and Prevacid all the way to fifth-generation anticonvulsants for seizures which can be extremely expensive. Other medications can include Baclofen for loosening the stiffness of the limbs in the setting of spastic cerebral palsy, and that can also be quite costly.
Rehab and Therapy
Rehab and therapy is the third category, and that can be broken down into three primary areas of therapy. There is speech therapy to help those individuals with cerebral palsy speak better, if they have the ability to; there is occupational therapy which helps individuals get up and ambulate and do things with their gross and fine motor skills so there can be improvement there; and there is just general physical rehabilitation which involves working with the muscles of the arms and the legs to make sure they are not getting too tight because one of the problems that individuals with cerebral palsy can have are called contractures, and contractures are when the limbs get so stiff and so tight that an individual with cerebral palsy can’t even get their limbs back into a normal position.
The fourth category of care required for individuals with cerebral palsy is adaptive equipment. Adaptive equipment can be costly as well, and the types of things that fall into the category of adaptive equipment can be a modified van for getting individuals in wheelchairs transported from Point A to Point B. It can be a wheelchair ramp at an individual’s house. Many people with cerebral palsy have difficulty showering or/and bathing, and so they need adaptive equipment in the bathroom to make sure they don’t slip and fall. Some individuals with cerebral palsy, again, have difficulty with secretions, and they need suctioning devices that their caregivers can use to help reduce secretions and the likelihood of pneumonia.
24 hour Care
The last category is daily care. Individuals with cerebral palsy require care and attention 24 hours a day, 7 days a week ranging from just having an assistant help someone with a mild form of cerebral palsy all the way to having a registered nurse in an individual’s home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Those individuals with severe cerebral palsy who do require registered nursing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week can be quite expensive, depending on the agency that provides the nurse.
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