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Children With Cerebral Palsy Need Better Provision

Last Updated: April 24, 2009.

FRIDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- Provision of services to help children with cerebral palsy participate in life situations varies widely across Europe, and some countries should use legislative measures to improve provision, according to a study published online on April 24 in BMJ.

Jerome Fauconnier, M.D., of the Universite Joseph Fournier in Grenoble, France, and colleagues conducted a study of 818 children aged 8 to 12 years with cerebral palsy across nine European regions. The researchers used a questionnaire to measure participation in 10 main areas of daily life such as mealtimes, school, recreation and relationships.

Participation was lowest among children with pain; impaired walking; and poor fine motor, communication, and intellectual skills. These factors accounted for up to one sixth of the variation in participation, which differed substantially from one region to another, the investigators discovered. The highest level of participation was in Denmark, the researchers found.

"In recent years it has been recognized that many children with cerebral palsy have frequent and severe pain, and our study makes clearer its association with lower participation. As pain is also known to have a pervasive effect on quality of life, better assessment and treatment of pain should improve both participation and quality of life," the authors write. "Some European countries facilitate participation better than others, implying some countries could make better provision. Legislation and regulation should be directed to ensuring this happens."

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