Predicting equipment needs of children with cerebral palsy using the Gross Motor Function Classification System: a cross-sectional study

Disabil Rehabil Assist Technol. 2012;7(1):30-6. doi: 10.3109/17483107.2011.556210. Epub 2011 Feb 11.


Background: Children with cerebral palsy (CP) routinely use assistive equipment to improve their independence. Specialist equipment is expensive and therefore not always available to the child when needed.

Aim: The aim of this study was to determine whether the assistive equipment needs of children with CP and the associated costs could be predicted.

Method: A cross-sectional study using a chart audit was completed. Two hundred forty-two children met eligibility criteria and were included in the study. Data abstracted from files pertained to the child's CP, associated impairments and assistive equipment prescribed. The findings were generated using linear regression modelling.

Results: Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) level [B = 3.01 (95% CI, 2.36-3.57), p = 0.000] and the presence of epilepsy [B = 2.35 (95% CI, 0.64-4.06), p = 0.008] predicted the prescription of assistive equipment. The more severely affected the gross motor function impairment, the more equipment that was required and the more the equipment cost.

Interpretation: The equipment needs of children with CP can be predicted for the duration of childhood. This information may be useful for families and for budget and service planning.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cerebral Palsy / economics
  • Cerebral Palsy / rehabilitation*
  • Child
  • Child Welfare*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Health Services Needs and Demand / economics*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Motor Skills*
  • New South Wales
  • Psychometrics
  • Registries
  • Self-Help Devices / economics*
  • Statistics as Topic