For five-year-old Maisie Reynolds from Merseyside, who has Cerebral Palsy and has developed a curvature of her spine, specialist equipment to support her posture is vital.
Scoliosis affects around four in 1000 children in the UK. The condition, which causes a prominent curve in the spine, causes pain, inflexibility and in extreme cases can result in the internal organs being crushed.
Not only does the right equipment slow the progression of the curvature of the spine and reduce pain, in Maisie’s case her family and doctors hoped it might be enough to prevent the need for surgery to insert steel rods into the spine.
However, a specialist seat from by Knowsley Council proved too painful for Maisie to use and although an alternative piece of equipment was provided, it didn’t give her spine enough support.
Maisie also relies on oxygen at night and is fed through a tube. Although she can’t talk, she communicates through her eyes, smiles and cries. Desperate for Maisie to have the equipment she so urgently needed, worried parents Marc and Rachel turned to Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children who provided the £2,160 seat she urgently needed.
There are seven different types of Scoliosis, but one of the most common is called Neuromuscular Scoliosis, that mostly affects those children suffering from muscle conditions such as Cerebral Palsy and Muscular Dystrophy, and occurs because of the weakened muscles around the spine.
In some cases, surgery is needed to but specialist equipment such as walking frames, wheelchairs and specialist seating systems can delay the need for surgery and, in some cases, even help slow the onset of the condition.
Every year Newlife provides specialist equipment and support to help thousands of disabled and terminally ill children, many of whom have Scoliosis.
Marc said: “The seat is exactly what Maisie needs to support her spine. She uses it every day, but needs other equipment throughout the day and night too – and not everything is as supportive.
“Although the seat has definitely delayed the need for surgery by around nine months, it looks like surgery for Maisie will now be inevitable.”
Newlife’s Consultant Nurse, Karen Dobson, said: “The right kind of postural support at the right time can reduce the likelihood of conditions deteriorating and additional conditions like scoliosis from occurring – and of course can reduce the need for invasive surgery further down the road.
“Expensive surgery puts further pressure on the NHS and local health authorities so investing in the right supportive equipment that limits the need for surgical intervention is actually saving money in the long run and could potentially free up budget to be spent in other areas.”