The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has published a new guideline that aims to address current variation in the provision of services for adults with cerebral palsy.

The draft recommendations set out the care and support adults with cerebral palsy should receive, as well as the steps needed to ensure equitable provision of specific services for this age group.

Cerebral palsy is a permanent, non-progressive abnormality of the brain and is the most common cause of physical disability in children and young people in the developed world.

A guideline on cerebral palsy in children and young people aged under 25 was published by the Institute last year to improve diagnosis and management of the condition and also reduce variation in clinical practice across the country.

The draft recommendations in this new guideline focus on interventions for adults with the condition – for example the use of augmentative and alternative communications systems to help improve communications skills – as previous guidelines largely address problems faced by children and young people.

According to the guideline, specialist services should develop pathways that allow adults with cerebral palsy access to a local network of care, barriers to accessing primary and secondary care should be address, and adults should be provided with information about national screening services.

“Irrespective of their level of disability, adults with cerebral palsy should be able to be as functionally independent as possible. Many may wish to go into further education, gain employment, participate in leisure activities and contribute fully to society. Barriers to these goals should be minimised so that adults with cerebral palsy have equal access to all opportunities,” said Professor Mark Baker, director of the centre for guidelines at NICE.

“This guideline aims to ensure that adults with cerebral palsy have easy access to equitable, cost-efficient services, with a clear network of referral to more specialised services as appropriate.”