Risk and Protective Influences in the Lives of Siblings of Youths with Spina Bifida (Report)
Health and Social Work 2008, August, 33, 3
Health and Social Work
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With advances in health care and rehabilitative technology enabling youths with spina bifida to live longer and in the context of their families (Bowman, McLone, Grant, Tomita, & Ito, 2001), potential stressors, such as caregiving demands, financial concerns, and health worries, are truly a shared family experience. Spina bifida (SB), a congenital spinal cord injury, results in a range of complications depending on the level of damage to the spinal cord. Almost all children with SB have neurosurgery in the first days of life to close the protrusion of spinal cord contents most often located at the thoracic level of the spine or lower (Hunt, 1999). In addition, the majority will have surgery for hydrocephalus in the early days of life. The ventriculoperitoneal shunt (from the ventricles in the brain to the abdomen) inserted to treat hydrocephalus can function well for years and need few surgical revisions or may have to be changed multiple times because of infection or malfunction (Heinsbergen, Rotteveel, Roeleveld, & Grotenhuis, 2002). Although the severity of medical problems varies, most youths with SB have altered mobility that results in their use of crutches, braces, or a wheel chair; altered innervations of body organs that result in lack of control of bladder and bowel or a decrease of gastrointestinal motility that can cause problems such as chronic constipation; changes in the musculoskeletal system, often requiring foot, tendon, scoliosis, or tethered cord surgery; absent or decreased sensation below their SB lesion; latex allergy; and neuropsychological deficits (Bowman et al., 2001; Mitchell et al., 2004). These youths typically have the capacity to be independent in dressing, grooming, and other self-care activities, though they may be slower to develop these skills, especially if they live in homes that are not accessible. Furthermore, although most youths with SB will not be able to control their bladder and bowels voluntarily, they and their families can perform bladder and bowel programs to achieve continence (Borzyskowski, Cox, Edwards, & Owen, 2004; Krogh, Lie, Bilenberg, & Laurberg, 2003).
- Category: Health & Fitness
- Published: Aug 01, 2008
- Publisher: National Association of Social Workers
- Seller: The Gale Group, Inc.
- Print Length: 33 Pages
- Language: English