Parents of Children with Cerebral Palsy: Experiences through Orthopaedic Surgery

Maria Juricic

Purpose: To explore the lived experience of parents of children with cerebral palsy (CP) across the Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) levels requiring orthopaedic surgery.

Methods: A mixed-methods research design was used. In-depth interviews with 6 parents were completed and analyzed by inductive thematic analysis. Twenty-five completed self-administered surveys were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Results were compared across GMFCS levels and findings were integrated.

Findings: Four themes identified were, “preparing and being prepared”, “feeling known and recognized”, “knowing and advocating for your child”, and “feeling stress and coping”. Survey responses to questions related to themes were found to be similar across GMFCS levels of children and surgical procedures undertaken.

Conclusion: These findings identify the importance of recognizing the needs of parents and suggest opportunities for collaboration between health care practitioners and families in caring for children with cerebral palsy across the spectrum of functional mobility and orthopaedic needs.