A hemispherectomy is a rare operation performed predominantly on children with life-threatening epilepsy. The surgery is restricted to children in whom medications have failed to control relentless seizures and the seizures originate from one brain hemisphere. Hemispherectomy remains the only cure for several catastrophic childhood seizure disorders.
Hemispherectomy surgery usually results in the eradication of seizures, however, requires intensive post-surgery rehabilitation. Patients will experience some paralysis on one side of their body, impaired sight and arm function, as well as almost complete paralysis of one hand.
Families face significant challenges following hemispherectomy surgery. Given the infrequency of this operation, local medical professionals may not have the specialised expertise to support optimal rehabilitation of hemispherectomy children.
Hemispherectomy Foundation Australia Inc is a health promotion charity established to support these children and their families by creating a community of support among families and provide access to targeted information to support their child's recovery and rehabilitation.
The Hemispherectomy Foundation Australia requested our support to help them host a two-day educational workshop for families and carers covering the latest evidence on the range of post-surgery rehabilitation required to achieve optimal health and wellbeing outcomes in hemispherectomy children.
The workshops will be delivered by medical and allied health professionals to provide families and carers with the knowledge required to address the ongoing health needs of their children before they develop acute or chronic conditions.
The workshops will connect up to 100 families of children who have undergone a hemispherectomy, as well as improve the physical and psychological health outcomes of those affected by the surgery.
For most families and children attending the workshops, it will be the first opportunity they have had to meet others who have undergone a hemispherectomy. The workshops will provide an opportunity to facilitate engagement between these families as well as promote their ongoing collaboration with the Foundation, strengthening supportive relationships in the hemispherectomy community.
For more information on the program visit www.hemispherectomyaustralia.org.au