What is it?
Prehabilitation (or prehab) refers to a block of physiotherapy prior to surgery or botox designed to strengthen your child’s muscles, set up stretching programs and improve their fitness so that they are at their optimum before going into hospital. Depending on your child, this could be once or twice a week for a longer period. Some children are advised to start building up their strength and fitness up to a year prior to surgery (if the approximate date is known that far ahead).
Why is it important?
With any surgery or hospital stay, especially if it is prolonged, muscles will start to waste away at a rapid rate after only 24 hours of bed rest. It is therefore critical to ensure that muscles are as strong as they can be prior to surgery so that, even if they do start to waste, there is enough strength left to help your child recover and get back to the strength and mobility they had pre-surgery.
Prehab also shows your child the types of activities and exercises that they will need to do after their surgery or botox so that they are already familiar with them when they leave hospital. It can be very hard for children to concentrate and learn new tasks soon after surgery so it is very helpful if they have already learnt what they need to do.
Does my child need prehab?
We recommend prehab for any child who has a planned admission into hospital (eg for surgery, botox or a lung work up) as any time spent in bed and away from normal activities can affect their strength and fitness. This is especially critical if they are having multilevel (SEMLS) or complex bone or heart surgery and may be relearning to walk afterwards. The type and complexity of the surgery and your child’s general health and fitness will affect the amount of physiotherapy that will be needed before and after their hospital stay.
A physiotherapist from Therapies for Kids will develop a treatment programme for use in the gym and will also develop a home programme to support the in rooms therapy. If a stretching programme is advised she will discuss with you appropriate equipment or splints if necessary and will assist with the provision of these. If the surgery is complex and you may need aides etc for home it may be suggested that you have an assessment by an Occupational Therapist.
At Therapies for Kids we can also assist with hydrotherapy pre-surgery to enhance strength and movement and also get you and your child familiar with the exercises and routines for post surgery. Hydrotherapy allows for fitness in a supported, weight bearing environment as well as using water as resistance for strength training.
What can we do?
At Therapies for Kids, we have a variety of equipment to help improve strength and fitness. If appropriate, we will assist your child to use our treadmill, rowing machine, kiddy exercise bikes, arm and leg weights and punching bags. We have a wide variety of size and types of swiss balls to help improve their core strength and wobble boards to improve balance and joint stability. We also have an obstacle course, monkey bars, a climbing net and a climbing wall to help with upper limb strength and overall stability.
You can provide the guidance for your child to prepare physically and emotionally for surgery/botox/medical interventions by assisting them with stretches and exercises at home.