Current practice in nutritional management of children with cerebal palsy by dietitians in the UK.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Impaired oro-motor skills and feeding difficulties are prevalent in children with Cerebral Palsy (CP). The potential for under-nutrition and growth faltering has lead to increasing use of gastrostomy feeding. Problems in accurate assessment of nutritional status and absence of comparable growth standards and energy requirements for this group create a potential for varying practice between dietitians. A questionnaire was completed by 25 dietitians around the UK who had children with CP under their care. There was a wide range of caseload size from 1 to 105. It was found the sample used varying methods to calculate requirements and the majority collected little anthropometric data. Frequency of review and factors monitored on review was not correlated to a larger caseload. The survey demonstrates practice varies greatly and often, clinical experience is relied upon when methods of predicting energy and growth can only be compared with standard norms of children without neurodisability. It is recommended longer term multicentre studies be carried out to map the growth potential of these children and larger samples to assess actual energy needs.
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