Cerebral palsy | Action Medical Research

Touching Lives - September 2002

Cerebral palsy

The Charity has extended its funding to Chailey Heritage Clinical Services in Lewes, East Sussex, with a grant of almost £150,000. This means that the total support from Action Medical Research to the acclaimed facility has now exceeded half a million pounds.

The new study will be using state-of-the-art equipment to help improve children’s posture and prevent unnecessary hip dislocations, and could have a lasting impact on their quality of life. The tools could potentially reduce deformity, pain, the need for hip surgery, and the disruption this causes to family life.

Research physiotherapist Dr Terry Pountney, who says she’s ‘thrilled’ by the new grant, told Touching Lives: “There is no cure for cerebral palsy, but if children are positioned well from an early age and encouraged to play in a way that helps them to improve their posture and muscle control, they can be helped to achieve more things for themselves. The idea is to intervene early, rather than wait until surgery is required.”

Specially designed equipment

The programme uses equipment, which has been specially designed by Chailey Heritage engineers and can be used over a 24-hour period. The aids include such things as a sleeping system to maintain hips in a neutral position during the night, standing supports, special seats and adapted cycles.

The research is an extension of a previous study, which is proving extremely beneficial. Terry adds: “Parents who are involved in the study found that ^the equipment not only improved posture and positioning but also increased the children’s independence, their feeling of wellbeing, and improved their muscle strength and control^.”

One such youngster is Ellis Jones who was referred to Chailey Heritage when he was nine months old and enrolled onto the Action Medical Research postural management programme. He recently had an X-ray which revealed that his hips were developing without any problems.

His mum Alison Jones of Seaford, East Sussex, said: “We can’t thank Chailey Heritage and Action Medical Research enough for everything they do, especially their innovation and dedication. Medical research is vital, and with appropriate funding and commitment it will have lasting impact on children like Ellis and families of the future.”

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