Children throughout BC can now be enrolled in the Child Health BC Hip Surveillance Program for Children with Cerebral Palsy. The program is the first of its kind in North America and one of six globally.
The need for a unique program
Hip displacement is a common problem for children with cerebral palsy. One in three will be affected. The hip is a ball and socket joint. The top of the thigh bone, called the femur, is a ball and it is covered by a part of the pelvis that makes up the “socket”. In a child with cerebral palsy, the ball can gradually move out from under the socket. If hip displacement is not found and treated, it can lead to pain, difficulty moving the hip, as well as problems with sitting, standing and walking.
Unfortunately, hip displacement often occurs without any signs or symptoms until the hip is fully dislocated. Once dislocated, treatment options are limited. The goal of the Child Health BC Hip Surveillance Program is to find hip displacement early when all treatment options are available.
What does the program entail?
Hip surveillance involves regular check-ups to watch for signs that a child’s hips may be moving out of joint. Programs were first established in Australia and Sweden and have been shown to reduce the number of hip dislocations in children with cerebral palsy. Children in BC can how get hip surveillance in their home community. A child’s physiotherapist is asked to complete a clinical exam of the child and their hips. When needed, an x-ray is taken at the child’s local hospital or healthcare centre. The Hip Surveillance Program team at BC Children’s Hospital reviews the clinical exam and x-ray results and makes recommendations that are then shared with the child’s family and local healthcare team. A child will be referred to a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon, a doctor specializing in children’s bones, for a more detailed assessment of the hip if needed. This is done as soon as possible and as close to home as possible.
Anyone can refer a child to the program, including parents. All children and youth with cerebral palsy in BC are eligible. For more information about the program, visit www.childhealthbc.ca/hips. To enroll your child in the program, speak to your child’s physiotherapist or contact the program coordinator, Stacey Miller, at 604-875-2345 (toll free 1-888-300-3088), extension 4099 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.