Children's physiotherapy patient information
Find out what to expect when you attend your child's physiotherapy appointment.
Before your appointment
Referrals are reviewed and prioritised by senior clinicians. Urgent referrals are offered appointments within seven working days of receipt of referral. Routine referrals are offered appointments within eight weeks of receipt of referral.
You should attend all appointments with your child if they are under the age of 16.
During the appointment the physiotherapist may ask your child to undress so that they can look at how the child's arms, legs and spine are moving. We suggest that your child wears or brings suitable clothing for this assessment and treatment, e.g. shorts.
Please bring details of any other therapy services who currently or have previously seen your child. Please remember to check your appointment letter for anything specific you have been asked to take with you. In addition, it would be useful if you could bring the following:
- your full address and telephone number(s)
- your appointment card and appointment letter
- your GP’s name and address
- a list of questions you may want to ask your physiotherapist.
For paediatric orthotic clinic appointments please bring your child's current orthotics (e.g. insoles, splints).
During your appointment
If your appointment is at St Mary’s Hospital, please check in at main reception or use the self-service kiosks, and be sure to speak with a member of staff in the children’s therapy resource room so that the team knows you have arrived. If your appointment is at Hammersmith Hospital, please check in at main reception.
Please note that we are a teaching hospital, so medical students may be present for some appointments. If you or your child do not wish to have them in the room please let the nurse or doctor know and the students will be asked to step outside.
Appointments vary in length depending on the complexity of the condition. Initial assessment appointments are 30 minutes to one hour. Follow-up appointments are 30 minutes in length for outpatient clinics.
During the appointment the physiotherapist will ask questions about your child’s condition and general development, and will observe and assess their movement. This may include assessments of strength, flexibility, coordination, balance and development of movement. Depending on the age of your child, the physiotherapist may use games, play or activities to help during their assessment. The physiotherapist will then explain what they have noticed about your child’s condition and make recommendations. These may include giving advice, starting physiotherapy treatment, giving specific exercises to help with your child’s condition, or providing equipment such as crutches. Your child may also be referred for further assessment from other specialists.
After your appointment
The physiotherapist will work with you, your child and other carers to implement the physiotherapy recommendations. This may include follow-up appointments, which will be scheduled after your first appointment.
Patient information leaflet
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