Children’s physiotherapists are trained to work with children to achieve or maintain their physical independence whether they are born with movement difficulties or they are injured and need help acquiring or regaining their skills. The service provides physiotherapy assessment, treatment and an advisory service where needed to children and young people from 0-18 yearsof age across Camden, working closely with families/carers and other professionals to enable them to support the child/young person’s physical needs. Physiotherapy promotes an individual’s health and well-being by helping them to move optimally. The service is delivered within children’s homes, special schools, mainstream schools, the Integrated Service for Disabled Children and health centres.
The service is provided for all children and young people who are registered with a Camden GP or living in Camden, as well as for children attending special schools and other educational settings in Camden.
The physiotherapy service is committed to equity of access for all ethnic groups, non-English language speakers, refugees and new arrivals, people with reduced mobility and other groups facing barriers to access.
The service complies with equalities legislation including the Disabilities Discrimination Act 2005 and Race Relations Amendment Act 2000.
The office is open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. We offer pre-school and after-school appointment slots.
Out-patients: Children’s physiotherapists work with babies, children and young people who have difficulties with movement and have been referred into the service.
In-patients: Children’s physiotherapists provide an in-patient service to the Royal Free Hospital children’s ward helping patients return home safely after orthopaedic surgery, injury and illness. Children's physiotherapists treat some babies, children and young people in hospital with acute respiratory difficulties and may be involved in working with newborn babies with developmental or orthopaedic issues on the postnatal and neonatal wards.
Physiotherapy involves an initial assessment and a treatment plan being made if treatment is required. Patients and their parents/carers will always be involved in decisions around their care. Children and young people are supported in learning how to carry out their physiotherapy exercises at home and work them in their daily routine as well as given advice about beneficial physical activity.
Physiotherapy treatment will be based on the assessed needs, current evidence and NICE guidelines and may include:
- Advice on targeted exercise and footwear
- General advice on activity and sport
- Exercises to stretch and/or strengthen, work on balance, coordination, core stability and sometimes neurodevelopmental therapy helping optimise functional movement
- Splinting, casting or providing orthotics where appropriate
- Provision of mobility aids
- Postural management: advice for disabled children and young people about maintaining good posture in a variety of positions including seating to support function and comfort
- Treating respiratory, orthopaedic and other conditions affecting mobility or breathing while an in-patient on the children’s ward at the Royal Free hospital
- Working with those who have had orthopaedic surgery who need to be mobile to go home
- Treating babies and young children for delayed motor skills, orthopaedic and neurological conditions.
After assessment, the physiotherapist will recommend the appropriate treatment based on their assessment findings.
The decision may be to:
- Assess, reassure and advise only
- Provide one-to-one physiotherapy including exercise and advice
- Provide group physiotherapy sessions
- Refer for orthotics/special equipment
Children are treated in specialist clinics, the Royal Free Hospital out-patient department, their home, nursery, school, child developmental centre in Kentish Town health centre and other community settings.
Physiotherapists aim to provide a family-centred approach to treatment working closely with the child and young person and their parent/carer.
In schools and nurseries, physiotherapists also work closely with the education staff to support the child and implement physiotherapy advice and recommendations.
In clinics and the hospital setting there is also a close working relationship with the multi-disciplinary team such as doctors, nurses, occupational therapists and speech and language therapists amongst others.
Download a leaflet about physiotherapy for children from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.
Who can be referred?
Babies, children and young people aged 0-18 years who are registered with a GP in the London Borough of Camden may be referred to the children's physiotherapy service
Students attending Swiss Cottage School who have physiotherapy provision documented on their EHCP up to 19 years
Children and young people who attend a mainstream school in Camden and have physiotherapy provision documented on an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
The Ponseti service accepts referrals for babies who may not live in Camden.