American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine (AACPDM) Navigating Adult Care in CP

Navigating the Pathway to Care in Adults With Cerebral Palsy

Citation: Hurvitz EA, Whitney DG, Waldron-Perrine B, Ryan D, Haapala HJ, Schmidt M, Gray C, Peterson MD. Navigating the pathway to care in adults with cerebral palsy. Frontiers in Neurology 12:734139. doi:10.3389/fneur.2021.734139

Study type / Population: Narrative review of issues affecting adults with cerebral palsy (CP) at healthcare system, clinical provider and individual levels.

Key findings: Appropriate healthcare systems for adults with CP, staffed by expert clinicians rarely exist. Adults with CP are at risk of multimorbidity (e.g. cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, bone fragility) at a much younger than their peers without CP. This is compounded by reduced preventive care, and evidence-based screening and intervention protocols. Functional decline with aging may respond to addressing issues such as physical inactivity, new neurologic symptoms (ie. weakness), pain and fatigue. Adults with CP experience a higher prevalence of mental health disorders than the general population, which may impact function and self-care. Financial or logistical barriers to participation may adversely affect positive health behaviours in adults with CP.

Translation to practice (what this paper adds): Increasing knowledge regarding physical and mental health and evidence-based care is required for all stakeholders – individuals with CP and healthcare providers. Advocacy for services such as coordinated care options, patient navigators and health surveillance using registries is critical to enhance wellness and life quality.  Telemedicine may enable greater healthcare access.

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