Early detection for infants at high risk of cerebral palsy

Dr Susan Greaves1, Dr Alicia Spittle2, Professor Iona Novak3

1The Royal Children’s Hospital, Parkville, Australia, 2The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia, 3Cerebral Palsy Alliance, Frenchs Forest, Australia

Aim: In 2014 IMPACT for CP, an international, multidisciplinary research network convened to develop new clinical practice guidelines for the early and accurate detection of cerebral palsy (CP) and referral to early neurorehabilitation. This presentation will discuss how these guidelines may be integrated into Allied Health practice

Method: Four database searches were conducted for systematic reviews and evidence based clinical guidelines providing evidence for early detection and neurorehabilitation of infants with CP. The Grading of Recommendation Assessment, Developmental and Evaluation (GRADE) framework was used to formulate recommendations based on synthesized evidence. Both the early detection tools evidence and basic science research (on motor systems, muscle strength and task-specific training) were considered to provide the theoretical background and data-driven recommendations.

Results: Twelve recommendations were identified to guide the early detection of cerebral palsy and referral for early intervention. While some recommendations involve medical staff (e.g. neuroimaging), a number of recommended assessment tools and interventions also require allied health support. Each of the twelve recommendations will be discussed with reference to the implications for allied health practice for children with CP.

Significance of the findings for Allied Health: These clinical guidelines provide a consistent and evidence based approach to early detection of CP and specifying the types of necessary early interventions for infants identified as high risk of CP. Allied Health clinicians working in this field should be aware of the latest guidelines and consider the barriers and facilitators to the implementation of these guidelines in their own health care settings.