Sleep positioning systems for children with cerebral palsy

South West PeninsulaNeurological
Published Date: 1 Nov 2015

Abstract

Background

Sleep positioning systems can be prescribed for children with cerebral palsy to help reduce or prevent hip migration, provide comfort to ease pain and/or improve sleep. As sleep disturbance is common in children with developmental disabilities, with impact on their carers' sleep, and as sleep positioning systems can be expensive, guidance is needed to support decisions as to their use.

Objectives

To determine whether commercially-available sleep positioning systems, compared with usual care, reduce or prevent hip migration in children with cerebral palsy. Any negative effect of sleep positioning systems on hip migration will be considered within this objective.Secondary objectives were to determine the effect of sleep positioning systems on: (1) number or frequency of hip problems; (2) sleep patterns and quality; (3) quality of life of the child and family; (4) pain; and (5) physical functioning. We also sought to identify any adverse effects from using sleep positioning systems.

Search methods

In December 2014, we searched CENTRAL, Ovid MEDLINE, Embase, and 13 other databases. We also searched two trials registers. We applied no restrictions on date of publication, language, publication status or study design. We checked references and contacted manufacturers and authors for potentially relevant literature, and searched the internet using Google.

Selection criteria

We included all randomised controlled trials (RCTs) evaluating whole body sleep positioning systems for children and adolescents (up to 18 years of age) with cerebral palsy.

Data collection and analysis

Two review authors independently screened reports retrieved from the search against pre-determined inclusion criteria and assessed the quality of eligible studies.Members of the public (parent carers of children with neurodisability) contributed to this review by suggesting the topic, refining the research objectives, interpreting the findings, and reviewing the plain language summary.

Main results

We did not identify any randomised controlled trials that evaluated the effectiveness of sleep positioning systems on hip migration.We did find two randomised cross-over trials that met the inclusion criteria in respect of secondary objectives relating to sleep quality and pain. Neither study reported any important difference between sleeping in sleep positioning systems and not for sleep patterns or sleep quality (two studies, 21 children, very low quality evidence) and pain (one study, 11 children, very low quality evidence). These were small studies with established users of sleep positioning systems and were judged to have high risk of bias.We found no eligible trials that explored the other secondary objectives (number or frequency of hip problems, quality of life of the child and family, physical functioning, and adverse effects).

Authors' conclusions

We found no randomised trials that evaluated the effectiveness of sleep positioning systems to reduce or prevent hip migration in children with cerebral palsy. Nor did we find any randomised trials that evaluated the effect of sleep positioning systems on the number or frequency of hip problems, quality of life of the child and family or on physical functioning.Limited data from two randomised trials, which evaluated the effectiveness of sleep positioning systems on sleep quality and pain for children with cerebral palsy, showed no significant differences in these aspects of health when children were using and not using a sleep positioning system.In order to inform clinical decision-making and the prescription of sleep positioning systems, more rigorous research is needed to determine effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and the likelihood of adverse effects.

Contact 
Dr Jo Thompson-Coon
j.thompson-coon@exeter.ac.uk