Quality of Life of Children with Cerebral Palsy: Accumulative Effect of Physiotherapy Intervention in North Central and Southwest Nigeria
Quality of life (QoL) has emerged as an important concept in child health. Cerebral palsy (CP) is a life-limiting disorder that is not curable, but the QoL of children with CP can be improved after early neurodevelopmental treatment, such that the affected child can be as independent as possible in carrying out activities of daily living. The purpose of this study was to determine the accumulative effect of physiotherapy treatment on QoL in children with CP. One hundred and twenty male and female children with CP, aged 2 to 8 years, were randomly selected for the study. After their medical history had been taken and diagnosis made, treatment was instituted with the ultimate aims of acquiring advanced postural reactions, strengthening weak back and abdominal muscles, and stimulating cognitive and mental ability. The approaches included passive movement, mobilization to prevent joint stiffness and stretching of stiff joints, and early neurodevelopmental treatment through the use of therapy wedges, rolls and therapy balls to facilitate rolling, sitting and standing. Aids such as standing frames, stimulating toys and diagrams were used to enhance the children's state of mental health. Accumulated physiotherapy treatment had beneficial and statistically significant effect on the QoL (mean score of 54.98%± 13.1%) of children with CP in North Central and South West Nigeria (P < 0.05). It was also found that physiotherapy intervention improves the quality of life of children with cerebral palsy, particularly those who are engaged early enough, and that parental level of education contributes positively to improved quality of life among children with cerebral palsy.
KEY WORDS: Quality of life, cerebral palsy, physiotherapy intervention