Care of children with cerebral palsy among guardians attending occupational therapy clinic at Kenyatta National Hospital, Nairobi City County, Kenya
Background: Among the chronic conditions that arise in childhood, cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common cause of disability. According to CDC, recent prevalence of CP in children aged three years and above is estimated at 3.6 per 1000 children globally. Children with CP tend to have multiple disabilities and caring for them can mean a great deal of extra work and expense for the parents.
Objective: To determine level of knowledge of cerebral Palsy(CP) among guardians, the psycho-social experiences and challenges among guardians of children with cerebral palsy.
Design: A cross sectional study
Setting: Occupational Therapy Clinic at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) a teaching and referral hospital in Nairobi city county, Kenya.
Subjects: Two hundred and eighty five(285) guardians of children with cerebral palsy.
Results: The study findings indicated that; the knowledge level of CP among guardians was not significantly associated with functionality of CP children: functional mobility (p=0.691) and ADLs performance (p=0.639). Stigma experienced by respondents was significantly associated with functionality of CP child; functional mobility (p=0.003) and ADLs performance (0.037), and stress level was significantly associated with functional mobility of CP children (p=0.01). Other challenges experienced by respondents included fatigue and financial problems. Fatigue level was significantly associated with functional mobility of CP children (p=0.002). Financial challenge was experienced by a majority (93.3%) of respondents. Catering for healthcare related costs presented a difficulty among 87.6% o respondents. 49.1% of participants stated that they felt they needed support with meeting healthcare related expenses. None of the socio-demographic characteristics of guardians were significantly associated with functionality of CP children.
Conclusion: There is need for public education on cerebral palsy in order to protect families of affected children from negative experiences like stigma and stress, and to offer financial support to families of affected children in order to enable them get the essential healthcare services.