Some babies who are cared for in the neonatal unit are at risk of developing difficulties with movement or other areas of development later in childhood. After these babies go home, they are followed up closely by an expert team who assess their development until they are 2 years old. If required, the team can then provide individualised treatment, advice, and support for families.
Prechtl’s General Movements Assessment is one assessment carried out by this team. It involves assessing the pattern of spontaneous movements made by a baby during a video recording. Videos can be taken on the neonatal unit or sent in by parents through a secure system once a baby has gone home. It is completely non-invasive for babies and the video recordings only need to last a few minutes.
Research has shown that the Prechtl General Movement Assessment can reliably detect early signs of movement problems before a baby reaches 5 months of age. This allows the team to provide therapies and support families earlier than ever before.
Specialist training in baby movement
To perform these assessments, staff need specialist training. Simpson’s Special Care babies kindly provided funding for two team members to attend the basic training course in London. The fascinating course provided us with a solid foundation of knowledge. We first learned about what normal general movements look like. We then learned about different abnormal patterns of general movements and what the significance of these are. There were plenty of opportunities for us to watch videos and build our confidence in recognising these patterns before the end of course test. It was also interesting to learn from the experience of other healthcare professionals from across the UK and Europe.
Fundraising for Simpsons (SSCB)
We are both excited to put our learning into practice and to contributing to these assessments at Simpson’s. We are confident that babies and families will benefit for years to come and would like to thank SSCB and their supporters for giving us this brilliant opportunity!
Helen Turner (Doctor)
Fiona McKeown (Physiotherapist)