Information for the public

Cerebral palsy in adults: the care you should expect

Cerebral palsy is a lifelong condition caused by a problem developing in a baby’s brain around the time of birth. It mainly affects muscles and movement but can also affect how people see, hear, communicate, understand and think. Everyone with cerebral palsy is affected differently – symptoms vary widely and the effects can range from minor problems to severe disability. Most people with cerebral palsy live well into adulthood and many have independent and active lives. Although the brain injury that causes cerebral palsy does not get worse over time, its effects on the body change, so people often need different care and support as they grow older.

We want this guideline to make a difference to adults with cerebral palsy and their families by making sure:  

  • your care and support always fits your needs and the things you want to achieve
  • you’re offered regular check-ups with your care team
  • you know how to get more help when you want it, or if your needs change
  • a good range of specialist support is available locally to provide your care.

Making decisions together

Decisions about treatment and care are best when they are made together. Your health and care professionals should give you clear information, talk with you about your options and listen carefully to your views and concerns.

To help you make decisions, think about:

  • What matters most to you – what do you want to get out of any therapy or treatment?
  • What are you most worried about – are there risks or downsides to treatments that worry you more than others?
  • What happens if you don’t want to have a particular treatment or therapy?

If you can’t understand the information you are given, tell your healthcare professional.

Read more about making decisions about your care.

Where can I find out more?

The NHS website has more information about cerebral palsy.

The organisations below can give you more advice and support.

NICE is not responsible for the content of these websites.

To share an experience of care you have received, contact your local Healthwatch.

We wrote this guideline with people who have been affected by cerebral palsy and staff who treat and support them. All the decisions are based on the best research available.

ISBN: 978-1-4731-3224-5

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