Findings from our latest survey show that Covid restrictions are continuing to have a negative impact on people with CP’s physical and mental health.
In February, we asked you to complete a survey to find out how lockdown was affecting people in Scotland with cerebral palsy (CP), their families and carers. These findings build on the information received from two previous surveys Cerebral Palsy Scotland carried out in May and September 2020.
Key headlines include:
- The negative impact restrictions are having on people’s mental health has significantly increased to affecting 60% of respondents.
- Decline in wellbeing was not restricted to the person with CP but 44% felt that it had also impacted on other people in the family.
- 43% of people are reporting that their physical health continues to deteriorate.
- 63% reported that their care arrangements had still not returned to pre-Covid levels.
- 53% feel that their family has become more isolated
- Most people have either already been vaccinated or want to be vaccinated. Only 12% reported that they did not want to be vaccinated.
- 82% said that they wanted everyone who lives with them and cares for them to be vaccinated as soon as possible.
- 83% were happy with the level of support they were receiving from Cerebral Palsy Scotland, even though the imposition of restrictions has delayed input for some groups.
Impact on mental health
The strain of community services continuing to be closed, including for children the closure of schools, and the limited availability of respite or other opportunities to stay connected to their community has a greater impact for people with CP and their families than compared to the wider population due to the reliance on these services for people to be able to stay fit and well.
As restrictions have continued and particularly during the lockdown since 26 December 2020, 60% of people with CP and families reported an increased deterioration to their mental health and wellbeing. Mental health has now overtaken concerns about deterioration in physical health, which was reported by 43% of survey respondents.
Whilst 22% of families report that they have become closer, 53% feel that they have become even more isolated and whilst the restrictions have certainly impacted on the mental health of the person with CP, 44% report that they have also impacted on other people in the family.
With increased deterioration in mental health on top of increased isolation, there is a general sense within the responses of feeling unsupported and that disabled people are being forgotten and ignored.
63% of respondents reported that any care arrangements they had in place previously were not yet back to the levels they were before Covid-19, which is a slight improvement from the 71% reported in September 2020. However, there remains over 41% who remain totally reliant on family carers.
In terms of healthcare, only 25% of respondents said that they have been able to access all the support they need from health professionals and only 23% reported that equipment needs were being met.
However, 70% of respondents have been able to access healthcare either for their cerebral palsy or for other issues. The majority of this (65%) is either online or via telephone.
Cerebral Palsy Scotland continue to note with concern that evidence of decline in condition is not being recognised or understood by professionals, for example the difficulty in accessing physiotherapy, appointments postponed, and lack of access to specialists in cerebral palsy.
The findings from the February 2021 survey have been collated into a report which is being shared with Scottish Government. Cerebral Palsy Scotland is continuing to take part in discussions with Scottish Government about opportunities to support people with CP as the country moves through the coronavirus outbreak.
How Cerebral Palsy Scotland can support you during Covid
We are committed to ensuring that Cerebral Palsy Scotland continues to provide support for anyone, with any form of CP, of any age and from any area of Scotland, through our CP Connect programme.
Cerebral Palsy Scotland’s CP Connect service is offering free therapy and support to children and adults. CP Connect is here to help in whatever way best suits you – it may be a conversation, an online chat, an onward referral, or it may be getting some virtual or in-person therapy. Find out more and sign up.