Pediatric Devices: Accommodating For Change
The world of pediatric medicine overflows with a need for research and a heart wrenching desire to help children suffering from numerous medical challenges and entire families affected in the caregiving process. The challenge of determining suitable pediatric medical equipment while looking for means to adapt and grow equipment for cost containment also becomes problematic. Parents are often left feeling torn as they choose how they will adapt to the lifestyle and life plan for their child. Help can seem far away but connecting with an understanding team of professionals can help to alleviate much of the stress that may accumulate during this process.
The Child’s Diagnosis Comes First
The need for an occupational therapist in the process of choosing pediatric devices for your child cannot be stressed enough. A medical professional is the one who will best understand what to anticipate in the future of your child. They’ll look at the diagnosis first and foremost in order to help both parents/guardians as well as the vendor understand the situation. They’ll also address questions like:
- Is this a short term Injury and what should we expect in the healing process? Will there be multiple stages to return to previous activity state?
- Are we working with a short term development delay that will be eventually grown out of?
- Is this a long term progressive state that needs to leave room to accommodate future challenges or will changes stabilize or sustain?
- What future events should we plan for?
- Are there other healthcare professionals such as orthopaedic specialists, neurological specialists, or speech therapists who should be involved in the process of choosing appropriate devices?
Understanding the diagnosis also helps to understand the demands that may be made of the product itself. Children who indicate spastic behaviours are apt to require more robust equipment and more durable adaptations.
Growing with You
The hard fact when dealing with pediatrics is that children are growing. They grow rapidly not only in size but also in development of abilities. This can become very demanding financially for families. Fortunately most pediatric rehab products are made to be quite complex and accommodate for various growth stages. The “growability” and adaptability of a product may be what makes or breaks the decision when choosing the final product.
Understanding Activity Level
The next item for consideration is the activity level of the child. Choosing appropriate pediatric medical devices requires an understanding of the child’s current activity level as well as the potential for development. If the child has sustained an injury which can be rehabilitated the need for a medical device at all can change drastically within a very short period of time. In other cases, understanding activity level may influence how a child integrates into a natural environment. Other factors such as whether the child attends school and where can also play a part in the equipment that is chosen. Products like Standers can actually aid in strengthening and rehabilitating children.
Considering the Caregiving Process
Many pediatric products come with numerous adaptations or applications that allow them to be used in a variety of settings. Pediatric toileting products such as the Rifton HTS or the Flamingo Commode can also be used for bathing while the Snug Seat Manatee limits itself to bathing. Other products such as Safety Beds are designed for children to raise and lower like a hospital bed in order to give parents easier access to care for their child while keeping the child safe from falls. Activity chairs like the Wombat by Snug Seat also allow for children to play but have a pedal adjustment that makes it easy for the chair to be adjusted to a table height when required for meals or other activities.
With so many innovative products available to children the equipment selection process shouldn’t be impossible but understandably it can be overwhelming. The role of a pediatric product expert and healthcare professional should be to assist the caregivers in making a choice that is appropriate for both current and future requirements. It’s also about learning to juggle products for multiple functions in order to alleviate financial burden as much as possible while still providing maximum benefit to the child.