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REACH service

Rehabilitation at the Evelina London Children’s Hospital 

Boy with a REACH member of staff playing a game as part of an assessment

The REACH service at Evelina London Children’s Hospital is a rehabilitation service for children with hemiplegia (movement difficulties on one side of the body).

What we offer

  1. Specialist assessment, consultation and advice regarding what rehabilitation approaches may be appropriate for a child. This may be one appointment.

  2. Intensive best research-evidenced arm/hand rehabilitation programmes with the aim of improving how a child uses their hands in their daily life. These are typically six week programmes (weekly hospital appointments, weekly local therapy appointments, and the remaining sessions are delivered by parents/carers/young people themselves at home). We also offer three week programmes for older children or young people who are able to take longer sessions. The programme delivers coaching and support for family members throughout, to support them in delivering the therapy

  3. For children or young people who are not participating in the intensive programme, we can when indicated, offer two or three guided intervention services.

  4. We also offer early assessment and intervention guidance for infants who have been diagnosed with a brain injury around the time of birth or infancy that places them at risk of movement difficulties.

Local therapists are welcome to attend consultation and advice sessions. Their participation is key to offering this programme.

Watch a film about our REACH service

We’ve made a short film, with the generous help of children and parents/care givers who have taken part in our therapy programmes, to introduce you to the work we do.

The Evelina London REACH service – video transcript

Dr Anne Gordon, consultant occupational therapist: Children with movement difficulties can face challenges in everything they do.

Dad: How are you going to open it? How did you do it before?

Dr Anne: Occupational therapists work with them to help them become more independent. Evidence shows that for hand and arm function, intensive bursts of therapy work best, but this is rarely available in the NHS. We have created the Evelina REACH programme to enable children to access these evidence-informed bursts of therapy. The way it works is the children come and see us once a week, they see their local therapist once a week, and the remainder of the sessions are delivered at home, led by the parents who we coach throughout the programme.

Dad: We had a kind of target to hit in terms of numbers of sessions and minutes for those sessions and I find that really useful.

Dr Anne: Based on our detailed assessment of the child, we set three individual aims, and we monitor progress using a logbook.

Therapist: He's starting to get to the stage where he'll change the position to make it a bit easier, so I was thinking of adding that as a new aim for this week.

Dr Anne: Typically the children are seated. And that's really important too, so that the children can see both of their hands as they're playing and moving and learn about what their hand can do. It's really important that the children have fun through the programme.

Therapist: That's cool, Alfie!

Mum: It is a big commitment and that is exactly the right word, we both work so there's lots of juggling around with timetables and rotas and things to get to the appointments.

Dad: But that is one of the benefits of the REACH programme, it's so clear what you need to do.

Dr Anne: When the programme is ended we see the families again at six weeks and six months to reassess, so we can monitor progress.

Mum: I think it is actually just how it changes your way of looking at everyday tasks and everyday toys.

Dad: What are my feelings about the REACH programme? It's just absolutely the best intervention we've had for our son, is the short and long of it.

Contact us

If you would like more information, please email: evelinareach@gstt.nhs.uk

Ben Siegle
advanced therapy assistant 
Tel: 07717 680 883

©  Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust.
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