The physiotherapist and occupational therapist as information providers to caregivers of children living in the United Kingdom, with a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy, during transition from primary to secondary school education

  • Amy Howells

    Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Science by Research


    Family-centred care has been established as best practice towards the management of children with cerebral palsy (Palisano et al 2009). Yet, children with cerebral palsy require additional support throughout their development. It is known that children have increased needs around the time of transition from primary to secondary school (Rice et al. 2011). However, it is not known how children with cerebral palsy receive support around this transition phase. Clinicians can use information to play an integral role in supporting both caregivers and children, frequently looking to clinical guidelines as to how to provide this support (NICE 2017). Currently, it is unknown how these guidelines are used within UK clinical practice, what and how clinicians use information to support caregivers of children with cerebral palsy at the transition to secondary school. Therefore, this study aimed to describe the current PT and OT information needs of caregivers of children, living within the UK with a diagnosis of cerebral palsy, during the transition from primary to secondary education.

    Survey methodology was used comprising of first and second-round data collection. Gatekeepers circulated online questionnaires designed for two defined participant groups; clinicians and caregivers, recruited via theory-based purposive sampling. In both rounds, quantitative and qualitative data was collected with questionnaires open for 6 weeks. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyse quantitative data whilst content analysis was used to review qualitative responses.

    Results described what information is currently provided by clinicians to caregivers of cerebral palsy at the point of transition to secondary school alongside how this information was given. Results demonstrated 6 neglected topics of information which neither clinician group had confidence in providing information on at the transition to secondary school. Results explored positives of providing information to caregivers at the transition to secondary school and provided solutions led by clinicians as to how future information provision could be improved.

    Recommendations are provided on the following areas: partnership working, training needs, presentation of information, use of clinical guidelines in practice, role of physiotherapists and occupational therapists in transition of children with cerebral palsy from primary to secondary school. Recommendations are provided for ways to overcome structural and organisational barriers including areas for future research.
    Date of Award2019
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorTanya Rihtman (Supervisor), Simon Igo (Supervisor) & Joanne Opie (Supervisor)

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