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20 March 2024 | Comment | Article by Gill Edwards

A day in the life of a client with Cerebral Palsy

As part of Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month, we explore how cerebral palsy impacts day-to-day living for one of our clients and how bringing a case has supported them by funding case management, additional care, adapted accommodation, therapy and technology.

Caitlin’s story

During the delivery of baby Caitlin*, there was a lack of oxygen to her brain because of delays in performing a caesarean section and she sustained a brain injury. She was later diagnosed with cerebral palsy and she has epilepsy. Now aged 12, Caitlin uses a wheelchair and will remain dependent on others for care for the rest of her life.


As a result of her brain injury, Caitlin struggles to retain information and to make herself understood, but speech and language therapy and assistive technology have helped her to communicate and to make sense of the structure of her day.

Caitlin’s limbs are tight but regular physiotherapy and hydrotherapy helps to minimise this. Despite the restrictions on her movement, she enjoys being part of the family and joining in with activities that bring her joy, including baking and creative activities. Occupational therapy and specialist equipment have helped to facilitate this.

Housing adaptations

An adapted house has played a vital part in maximising Caitlin’s independence in the home and enabling her to participate in activities. Sufficient space in the house has also enabled the family to have privacy from the care team, whilst giving flexibility to Caitlin and the family so that they can alternate between therapy and family time.

A bungalow was purchased and adapted for Caitlin and her family through the compensation she received via interim payments during the case. A specialist disability architect was brought in to help with the project and to make the process of adapting her home as effective as possible.  Doorways were widened to accommodate Caitlin’s wheelchair; separate space was created for Caitlin’s therapy to take place, and an adapted kitchen area was created with a rise and fall unit so that she could get involved in baking and other activities. A bedroom, day room and office were created for the care team who are employed to provide 24-hour care to Caitlin so that they have space to sleep and have breaks, and the family and carers have their own privacy.

As Caitlin has issues with continence, the family has a lot of extra laundry, and a larger utility room was set up to address this.  Storage is also a major issue as there is so much medical equipment including incontinence products, medication and suction tubes, and creative use of space ensures that family life is as less medical as possible, and Caitlin’s dignity is preserved.

Caitlin’s family was keen to maintain some normality for her and her sibling, and they reported that their quality of life had improved dramatically in their new home.

*Name changed to protect anonymity

Legal Opinion

Achieving the right result for clients with such severe injuries is paramount. It is of the utmost importance to identify and understand each individual’s specific issues and instruct the right experts to advise on how best to meet their needs so that the appropriate level of compensation is awarded.

Each person’s injuries are unique to them, and each family is unique, with different needs and priorities. This affects the level of care and therapy required but also the type of accommodation. For example, if a child has hypertonia so that their limbs are tight, hydrotherapy is likely to help and, depending upon the local facilities, it may be necessary to construct a hydrotherapy pool at home.

Whilst the needs of the injured child are at the forefront of what we do, there are often siblings who need to be considered, and how the family want to interact with the care team and therapists needs to be respected and taken into account. There is always a balance to be struck between accessing support for the injured person, maximising their independence and dignity, and preserving the family unit.

If you have been affected by a traumatic birth and wish to seek legal advice, contact one of our specialist Medical Negligence solicitors today.

Or should you want more information about birth injury, visit our dedicated Birth Injury Support Hub tailored for individuals and families navigating the complexities of birth injuries which showcases support organisations that work within this field.

Author bio

Gill Edwards


Gill Edwards has specialised solely in clinical negligence throughout her career. She has acted for Claimants who have been injured due to all aspects of clinical negligence involving GPs and hospital Trusts and she specialises in birth injury, brain injury, spinal cord injury and amputation claims.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.


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