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Near Drowning

Some of the children that we work with have suffered near drowning events. According to WHO, “drowning is the process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion or immersion in liquid”. If this happens, due to poor ability or inability to breathe, the brain can be starved of oxygen for a period of time. Depending on the period that the body and brain were without adequate oxygen, varying amounts of damage can be caused to many areas of the brain. This is also known as hypoxic or anoxic brain injury. Many of the children who experience near drownings require respiratory support via ventilation or tracheostomy tubes. This type of global injury to the brain also means that some children take a significant amount of time to respond to the outside world and they need a lot of support to be able to do this. Children who suffer this type of brain injury require very specialised therapy from a multidisciplinary team who work together at the pace of the child. Sensory abilities are a main focus of therapy and the therapists will grade the amount of sensory input that a child is exposed to and can tolerate. The medical and therapy team work together with parents and caregivers toward goals that the child will be able to achieve at the pace that their body and brain will allow. Education along each stage of recovery is conducted with family members and carers so that everybody working with the child is working toward the same goals. This type of injury is very traumatic for all involved and thus social workers and/or psychologists are part of the team to help lend support to the family throughout the therapy process.

How can we help?