Case Study - Displaced Adolescent

Original Editors - Naomi O'Reilly

Top Contributors - Naomi O'Reilly      

Title[edit | edit source]

Adolescent refugee with persistent pain awaiting family re-unification after 4 years as an unaccompanied child

Case study modified from the Physiotherapy and Refugees Education Programme.[1]

Abstract[edit | edit source]

David is an 18 year old male who arrived as an unaccompanied refugee 4 years ago. he is now awaiting re-unification with his mother and two younger sisters, but his father is missing and no-one knows where he has gone. David has a history of chronic pain and is currently having rehabilitation to help with this.

Key Words [edit | edit source]

Refugee, Unaccompanied Child, Family Re-unifcation, Persistent Pain, Trauma

Patient Characteristics[edit | edit source]

First Meeting[edit | edit source]

David, 18 years old, is referred to you because of pains in different parts of the body, both upper body and extremities. He has been examined by his GP, x-rays and MRI show no specific pathology, but blood samples reveal some vitamins and mineral deficiency, and he is put on medication for this. His pain is now making it very difficult for him to continue playing football, and his dream of making it as a footballer is in jeopardy. He tells you in your own language during the first session, that you have to fix him.

Follow Up Sessions[edit | edit source]

During the first few sessions, you understand that there are other issues bothering David. After a thorough examination, you see he has a lot of muscular tension, he has a shallow and fast breath and appears to be skeptical to things you want to examine during this session. Closing, you ask him to come back for further examination, stating that healing of those problems is not a quick fix. He agrees and you give him a new appointment.

Reflecting on your own, you wonder how he speaks the language so well, being so young, and you realise that you did not get much info about his social life apart from football. You decide to go further with this next time.

The next time he arrives a bit late but excuses himself for that when you mention it, saying he overslept. Asking him further he gets a little impatient since he wants to be fixed, but reluctantly informs you that he has no family here, that he came here 4 years ago, alone, after a long journey. He seems reluctant to go further into this journey, but you sense some difficult things happened along the way. He also tells you that he has refugee status and is now waiting for his mother and 2 younger sisters to arrive on family reunification – his father has disappeared and no one in the family knows what has happened to him. His dream is to be able to help his family if he succeeds in football. He is now going to school and hopes he can do well and finish so he can move on with his life.

References [edit | edit source]

  1. Physiotherapy and Refugees Education Programme. PREP Project (2018 – 2021) Available from (Accessed 20 May 2022)