Enable Ireland and Cork Institute of Technology Collaborate To Bring 3-D Gait Analysis Services for Children with Disabilities in Cork and Kerry | Enable Ireland


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Enable Ireland and Cork Institute of Technology Collaborate To Bring 3-D Gait Analysis Services for Children with Disabilities in Cork and Kerry

Enable Ireland’s 3rd international conference on Paediatric Spasticity, Orthopaedic, and Postural Management in taking place in Cork today.
Yesterday, in advance of the conference, Enable Ireland and Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) announced the availability of a specialised 3-D gait analysis service for children with complex physical disabilities in Cork and Kerry. Prior to this, children and families have had to travel to Dublin to avail of this highly specialised medical assessment service, which can only be provided in a gait laboratory. Children who will avail of this service include children with disabilities at risk of scoliosis or other neuromuscular impairments.

This new collaboration with the Department of Mechanical Biomedical and Manufacturing Engineering in CIT means that 3-D gait analysis for these children can now be provided locally. International best practice recommends gait analysis before and after orthopaedic intervention for children with physical disabilities. The introduction of 3-D gait analysis will lead to better management of care, overall costs savings and improved clinical outcomes for these children. 

Ger Cunningham’s son David, 11, has Cerebral Palsy and attends Enable Ireland services in the Lavanagh Centre in Cork.   “Having the 3-D gait analysis has made a massive difference for David. Before the scan, we thought David needed orthopaedic surgery for his bones but the scan was able to tell us that David’s difficulties were muscle related.it was his muscles were the source of David’s difficulty. The scan identified precisely where and which muscle groups were causing the issues. These will be injected with Botox to loosen the muscles, followed by intensive physiotherapy with the Enable Ireland team in Cork.  We are expecting enhanced results from the treatment for David and, because we know, the difficulties are muscle related, David’s recovery time will be reduced to one-third of a “bone” recovery time. He’s always been a very strong and determined boy, it’s so important to be able to have this kind of facility available for him in Cork.”

 “Up to now, we have been providing 2-D gait analysis, which is very limited. The addition of 3-D analysis completes the service we currently offer under our Orthopaedic Care Pathway. It is also a cost neutral initiative, so it really is a win-win for everybody – but most importantly for the children and their families,” commented Gillian O’Dwyer, Physiotherapist Enable Ireland Cork.

“Our 3-D Gait analysis lab has state of the art cameras and assessment facilities and we are delighted to be able to collaborate with Enable Ireland on the use of our lab in the provision of integrated orthopaedic service for children in Cork and Kerry”, commented Prof. Ger Kelly, Head of Mechanical Biomedical and Manufacturing Engineering, at Cork Institute of Technology.

Over 600 children with physical and neuro-disabilities in the Cork and Kerry region currently access integrated orthopaedic services coordinated by Enable Ireland in Cork and run in collaboration with consultant paediatricians from Mercy University Hospital and orthopaedic surgeons from South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital. This integrated disciplinary pathway currently provides orthopaedics surveillance and management, spasticity assessment and intervention along with specialised orthopaedic assessment, rehabilitation and postural management services.

Currently, the team are providing the 3-D analysis with the support of CIT and hope to secure long-term funding for this essential service in the future from the HSE.

Enable Ireland Children’s Service Cork will host its 3rd International Paediatric Spasticity, Orthopaedic and Postural Management Conference on 28th April in the Rochestown Park Hotel. International and Irish speakers at the event are working in the area of Paediatric Physical and Neurodisability, particularly with Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, and Neuromuscular conditions. At the conference, Enable Ireland will call for the implementation of a national spinal/hip surveillance protocol database for children with disabilities at risk of these impairments. Following best practice internationally, the objective is to have every child in the country with Cerebral Palsy and other conditions registered for spinal & hip surveillance. Focusing on prevention through continuous and standardised surveillance nationally, this protocol will enable issues to be detected early, ensure right time referral for interventions and ultimately optimise the ability and quality of life for children with Cerebral Palsy and other conditions.