With an array of easy-to-use resources, a new platform, FlexterityTM, has been launched to give parents and caregivers of babies and children with neuromuscular diseases (NMDs) access to additional support outside of their regular physiotherapy appointments. The platform has been developed by Novartis Gene Therapies in collaboration with a multi-disciplinary group of healthcare experts and neuromuscular paediatric physiotherapists.
Rosanna Rabb, Paediatric Neuromuscular Physiotherapist at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital and Chair of the Association of Paediatric Chartered Physiotherapists Neuromuscular Committee was one of the experts who worked on the development of Flexterity. She commented, “Neuromuscular diseases vary in range, age of onset and severity, and can affect muscle function, walking, movement, strength, as well as an infant’s ability to play and develop. Importantly, these conditions can also impede speech, breathing and feeding in some cases, and can have a huge impact on the quality of life of the whole family. The Flexterity platform is vitally needed, and I hope will provide a go-to resource for paediatric physiotherapists to use with parents and caregivers.”
For infants with NMDs, ongoing physiotherapy treatment is necessary to maximise the benefits of pharmaceutical treatment by promoting function through activity and exercise. Flexterity aims to help therapy teams provide this support, offering information and exercises to aid rehabilitation with a focus on building flexibility, movement, and muscle control. Treatment success is measured by improvement in motor outcomes, such as muscle strength and gross motor development, but also through monitoring improvements in speech, breathing, swallowing, and feeding.
Flexterity is designed for physiotherapists to work with parents and caregivers in creating a personalised physiotherapy plan for them to continue at home with their child between appointments. The platform allows them to have input into their child’s development in an accessible, easy to understand way, with exercises using real patient videos for different stages of childhood development. Exercises are divided into chapters, such as sitting, kneeling, standing, and walking, and the content has been designed using simple step-by-step movements for parents to follow.
Flexterity offers an extension of care for physiotherapists to assist children with NMDs during a time where face-to-face consultations can be limited. Physiotherapists can access all of their patient’s plans through the www.Flexterity.com portal on their desktop browser, whilst parents and caregivers will access their individual account using a code from their physiotherapist, once entered on the app. The parent and caregiver app is downloadable from Google Play and the Apple App store, allowing them to view their personalised movement plan.
By giving parents and carers the confidence to take a leading role in their child’s treatment and development, Flexterity could become a vital platform to support standard of care for neuromuscular diseases.
February 2022 UK-UNB-22-0002