Well you have now learnt about the cleft lip and now let us dicuss and understand what is cleft palate. Cleft palate (CP) is midline fissure of the palate that results from a failure of fusion of the tissues forming the palate. This may involve soft palate alone or can extend along the hard palate and, in most severe cases it may include anterior portion of the maxilla (see Fig. 2.4). The child will have feeding problem and speech difficulty. Child may get recurrent respiratory infections and ear infection.
Incidence cleft palate alone occurs 1 in 2000 live brings. It is found to be more common in females than in males.
Nursing Care and Treatment:
The only treatment is surgical repair and child may be operated before 18 months as per the choice of surgeon so that speech pattern of child may not be affected. In certain cases dental appliances are applied to facilitate communication if the surgery has been delayed or defered. These appliances have to be changed periodically as the child grows.
Your role as a nurse is immense to give attention to the emotional problems of child and parents. Parents feel guilty and inadequate of this defect. The child may have irregular tooth eruptions, drooling, delayed speech which will lead to fiustration. In such situations you need to guide the parents for appropriate treatment and resources available which will relieve the anxiety.