UP and Gauteng Government to open a new paediatric neurology rehabilitation facility

The main objective of this Unit is to empower mothers or primary care-givers in the optimization of long term home based rehabilitation of children with neurological disorders.

According to Professor Izelle Smuts - Head of the Paediatric Neurology Unit at the University of Pretoria, many of the patients seen at the Paediatric Neurology Unit are severely disabled and need special care at home.

“The Rehabilitation Unit provides us with a unique opportunity to interact daily with patients and their care-givers in a supervised environment before they have to continue to care for these children alone at home. Mothers staying with their children will be taught specific skills to e.g. optimize the feeding via alternative routes, positioning, stretching and exercising under the supervision of trained staff,” she added.

Apart from building a bridge between academic and community based medicine, the Rehabilitation Unit also creates awareness for rehabilitation amongst students and contributes to teaching and research opportunities.

“I am very excited about this endeavour as it is one of the first of its kind in the country and I hope that we will be able to at least make life a little bit easier for these mothers and their children," said Prof Smuts.

Ms Françoise Law, CEO of the Tshwane Rehabilitation Centre, also felt equally excited with the joint venture and added:”Gauteng Department of Health is pleased to offer this service to children with disabilities. The child will be attended to by a multi-disciplinary team of health professionals, thus ensuring a comprehensive and holistic rehabilitation programme. The children will add to the vibrancy of our clients at the Centre.”

She also elaborated further about the Centre: “The Centre caters for the newly injured clients who have either neurological, spinal cord injuries or traumatic amputations. We will also be offering services to clients with visual impairments. The Centre started running in April 2006 with 14 spinal patients only and now we have capacity and facilities for 43 clients. We will be opening another 28 beds in January 2009."

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