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Assessing Care and Support Needs for Children With Acquired Brain Injury: Normative Data for the Paediatric Care and Needs Scale (PCANS)

  • Cheryl Soo (a1), Robyn L. Tate (a2), Vicki Anderson (a3) and Mary-Clare Waugh (a4)

Introduction: The Paediatric Care and Needs Scale (PCANS) was developed to address the dearth of scales currently available for measuring support needs of children with acquired brain injury (ABI). The scale assesses environmental supports (both supervision and physical assistance) across 14 domains of everyday activities from support for personal hygiene to participation in leisure and social activities. This study aimed to determine support needs in typically developing children using the PCANS in a normative sample of Australian children. Methods: Participants were parents of typically developing children aged 5–14 years (N = 300) recruited from a range of schools in metropolitan Melbourne. Children with ABI, diagnosis of a neurological or developmental disorder, or significant medical condition were excluded. Thirty parents of children in each of 10 age levels, with approximately equal sex ratio were recruited. Results: Findings suggest that support needs vary according to age of the child (p < .01) but not sex of child or occupational status of the parent. Additionally, children were found to have significantly higher support needs for supervision compared with physical assistance across most of the domains of the PCANS (p < .01). A greater number of age differences across PCANS domains were also found in younger children (5 to 7 and 8 to 11 years) compared to the older age group (age 12–14 years). Conclusions: This study reports normative data for the PCANS using a sample of children stratified by age. Findings will provide an essential point of reference to help guide clinical interpretation of the PCANS for assessing support needs of children with ABI.

Corresponding author
*Address for correspondence: Dr Cheryl Soo, Australian Centre for Child Neuropsychology Studies, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Royal Children's Hospital, Flemington Rd, Parkville VICTORIA 3052 Australia.
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Brain Impairment
  • ISSN: 1443-9646
  • EISSN: 1839-5252
  • URL: /core/journals/brain-impairment
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