7 Cerebral Palsy Nursing Care Plans

Cerebral Palsy refers to a group of neurological disorders that affect body movement, balance, and posture. In many cases, speech, vision difficulties, seizure or cognitive problem are also affected. It is caused by the abnormal development or damage to a part of the brain that controls movement. It usually appears early in life, usually in infancy or early childhood.

Symptoms of a child with cerebral palsy vary from one person to person which may include: delayed in reaching developmental milestones, weakness in one or more arm or leg, lack of muscle coordination when performing voluntary movements (ataxia), muscle spasms, muscle tone that either are too stiff or too floppy, fidgety, jerky or clumsy movements, walking on tip-toes, or excessive drooling or difficulties swallowing or speaking.

There is no known cure for the condition, but supportive treatments, therapy, medications, and surgery are facilitated to improve the life of the child.

Nursing Care Plans

Nursing goals for a client with cerebral palsy include optimize mobility and prevent deformity, improve nutritional status, strengthen family support, foster self-care, enhanced communication and provide quality of life.

Here are seven (7) nursing care plans (NCP) for cerebral palsy:

  1. Impaired Physical Mobility
  2. Imbalanced Nutrition: Less than Body Requirements
  3. Impaired Verbal Communication
  4. Ineffective Management of Therapeutic Regimen
  5. Risk for Injury
  6. Risk for Delayed Growth and Development
  7. Risk for Self-Care Deficit
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Impaired Physical Mobility: Limitation in independent, purposeful physical movement of the body or of one or more extremities.

May be related to

  • Disease condition (Cerebral Palsy)
  • Decrease muscle control
  • Neuromuscular impairment

Possibly evidenced by

  • Inability to control lower extremities
  • Limited range of motion (ROM)
  • Muscle spasm

Desired Outcomes

  • Child/infant will achieve maximum movement ability and absence of contractures.
Nursing Interventions Rationale
Assess the type of auditory, visual, motor, or intellectual deficit. Knowing the type of deficit will aid in planning interventions appropriate for the child.
Do a developmental assessment and note the development of milestones (such as stand with help, or walk when led). A client with cerebral palsy usually has delayed developmental milestones.
If one skill is attained, interventions are changed in order to achieve
the succeeding one.
Facilitate activities in using fine and gross motor skills (such as giving a ball on hand to encourage throwing, holding a spoon) Most of the activities of daily living and
play exercises hasten physical
development.
Allow the child to perform activities or care routines at his or her own pace. A child may have difficulty completing tasks in time compared to normal children.
Encourage the child to rest between activities that are tiring. Given the limitations of the child’s ability, rest periods are given to maintain energy.
Perform range-of-motion exercises
every 4 hours for the child unable to move body parts.
Children with cerebral palsy have a decreased range of motion (ROM) due to limited mobility and the presence of spasticity. ROM exercises promote movement and minimize the risk of contractures.
Educate the family on how to use an orthotic device as indicated. Orthotic devices help build stability while increasing strength, balance, comfort, and independence.
Administer medications as prescribed: 
These medications are used to treat uncontrolled body movements such as tremors, muscle stiffness, and spasms.
  • Muscle relaxants (e.g., Baclofen [Lioresal])
These medications are used to relax contracted, overactive, or stiff muscles.
These medications are given to reduce or prevent seizure activity.
Assist the parents in referring the child to a rehabilitation therapist as appropriate. A rehabilitation therapist
can provide specialized services in promoting effective mobility.
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See Also


You may also like the following posts and care plans:

Pediatric Nursing Care Plans


Nursing care plans for pediatric conditions and diseases: 

Maternal and Newborn Care Plans


Nursing care plans related to the care of the pregnant mother and her infant. See care plans for maternity and obstetric nursing:

Further Reading


Recommended books and resources:

  1. Nursing Care Plans: Diagnoses, Interventions, and Outcomes
  2. Nurse's Pocket Guide: Diagnoses, Prioritized Interventions and Rationales
  3. Nursing Diagnoses 2015-17: Definitions and Classification
  4. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V-TR)
  5. Manual of Psychiatric Nursing Care Planning
  6. Maternal Newborn Nursing Care Plans
  7. Delmar's Maternal-Infant Nursing Care Plans, 2nd Edition
  8. Maternal Newborn Nursing Care Plans