Promoting capacities for future adult roles and healthy living using a lifecourse health development approach
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PURPOSES: First, to describe how young adults with cerebral palsy (CP) experience lifecourse health development, and second, to create key messages for pediatric health service providers to promote children's capacities for future adult roles and healthy adult living. METHODS: Interpretive description qualitative design. Participants were a purposive sample of 23 young adults with CP, 25-33 years of age, who varied in functional abilities, education, living, and work situations. Three experienced interviewers conducted 50-60 min interviews. Transcripts were analyzed to identify themes. Subsequently, a one-day meeting was held with an advisory group to inform our interpretive description of key messages. RESULTS: Four themes emerged from the interviews: personal lifecourse, contexts for healthy living, health development through everyday experiences, and healthy living as an adaptive process. Key messages for service providers are: (a) address healthy living across the lifecourse, (b) focus on contexts of healthy living, (c) focus on everyday experiences and experiential learning, and (d) pay attention to the timing of opportunities and experiences. CONCLUSION: The findings provide first steps toward adoption of an approach to lifecourse health development for individuals with CP that emphasizes physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing and goals for desired social participation over the lifecourse. Implications for rehabilitation Young adults with cerebral palsy experience lifecourse health development as a personal ongoing and dynamic process occurring in many contexts. Individuals with cerebral palsy continually adjust to changing contexts (adaptive process). Everyday experiences and experiential learning enable individuals with cerebral palsy to develop capacities for current and future healthy living including social participation. "Timing" of opportunities and experiences is important for health development.
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