Paediatric Physiotherapy: Experience as Seen at a Tertiary Health Facility in Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Paediatric Physiotherapy in Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Background: The need for paediatric physiotherapy, which has a vital role in health promotion, prevention and treatment of a wide spectrum of disorders, is on the increase as many more children are surviving with chronic illnesses/disabilities, and require it to improve function and promote independence. The objectives was to carry out an audit of the utilization and outcome of paediatric physiotherapy services at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH), Nigeria. Subjects and Methods: A retrospective study of cases of children who attended the Outpatient Clinic of the Department of Physiotherapy of the UPTH between January 2017 and December 2019. Their clinical profile and outcome of therapy were analyzed using SPSS version 25.0. Results: Four hundred and one cases, 200(49.9%) males and 201(50.1%) females, were analysed. Under-fives constituted 83.3% of them while the most frequent indication for referral was delayed motor milestones (47.8%). Majority of subjects (79.2%) were referred by a physician from within (60%) or outside the hospital (19.2%). The commonest diagnosis of subjects were palsies (89%), of which cerebral (53%) and Erb’s (26.3%) topped the list. Subjects benefited from single or combined modalities of therapy. Less than 20% completed the prescribed therapy and were discharged while most subjects (68%) stopped treatment by themselves. Conclusion: Neurological conditions, especially cerebral palsy, were the major reason for utilisation of paediatric physiotherapy services, and mostly by children below 5 years of age. High default rate was a contributory factor to poor outcome in most cases, denying many children of the help they can get to improve their continued health, well-being and mobility.
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