Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit
Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters understands that children have very special needs as patients. This is especially true of young people who need rehabilitation to regain lost skills or develop new ones after accidents, illnesses or surgeries.
Children in rehabilitation require more than equipment sized to meet their smaller bodies. They need therapists who can make the hard work of rehabilitation feel like child's play. They need doctors who understand not only the developing body, but also the developing mind-and how one affects the other. They need to be in a friendly, non-threatening environment that lessens their anxiety about being away from home.
In short, children who need inpatient rehabilitation need to be cared for by people who truly understand and value children. And that's just who you’ll find at Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters.
What Conditions Do You Treat?
CHKD's inpatient rehabilitation unit provides diagnosis and treatment for young people from birth through age 21 with a wide variety of conditions. Conditions include, but are not limited to the following:
- Brain tumors
- Cerebral palsy
- Feeding problems
- Joint disease
- Neuromuscular disease
- Spina bifida
- Spinal cord injury
- Traumatic brain injury
- Traumatic illness
- Traumatic injury
Who will care for my child?
Each child who comes to the CHKD Rehabilitation Unit has a unique combination of skills and challenges, so your child will see many different specialists while you're here. Everyone here is specially trained to care for children. Here are some of the people who may help take care of your child:
- Physicians - Medical doctors specializing in pediatric physical medicine will be in charge of your child's care in the Rehab Unit. Your child may also see other doctors, such as resident physicians, who are medical doctors receiving advanced training in physical medicine and rehabilitation. At CHKD, your child will also have access to pediatricians in more than 50 specialties, such as neurology, pulmonary medicine, medical genetics and gastroenterology, should the need arise.
- Rehabilitation Nurse - Registered nurses (RN) who specialize in the care of children undergoing rehabilitation will spend the most time with your child and become a first "point of contact" for you with information about your child.
- Physical Therapist - These therapists work with children's "large muscle groups" on skills such as sitting, standing and walking. Your child's physical therapist, or "PT"; as they are often called around the hospital, is also the person who will help your child learn to use a wheelchair, walker or other special equipment. See also Physical Therapy for detailed information on services provided.
- Occupational Therapist - These therapists works with children's "small muscle groups" on controlling parts of the body such as the hands and the mouth. Occupational therapists are often called "OTs" around the hospital. They work on skills such as dressing and eating. See also Occupational Therapy for detailed information on services provided.
- Speech Therapist - These therapists will help your child regain or learn speech and language skills and may also work with the PT or OT with eating and drinking skills if your child has trouble swallowing. See also Speech Therapy for detailed information on services provided.
- School Teacher - Teachers are an important part of the rehabilitation process, helping children recover their thinking and reasoning skills and/or keep up with their classes while they're in the hospital.
- Social Worker - Social workers are available to help you adjust to your child's diagnosis or hospitalization and to help you connect with resources in the community that can assist you. Social workers can also help you make a smooth transition from hospital to home when it's time for your child to be discharged.
- Rehabilitation Coordinator - These nurses work with insurance companies for admission to the unit and will help at the end of your child's stay by coordinating the services and treatments that your child will need to continue at home.
- Nutritional Therapist - Registered dieticians will address any special dietary or nutritional needs your child may have.
- Child Life/Recreational Therapist - Play and recreation are vital to children's health, growth and development, even while they're in the hospital. This therapist will make sure your child gets all the physical, emotional and social benefits of play.
How do you determine what will help my child?
Evaluating your child's current condition is the first step of rehabilitation. Your input is vital to this process, because you can tell us about your child's previous abilities, skills and experiences. Our rehabilitation team will also assess how well your child is doing in the following areas:
- Activities of daily living (dressing, eating, grooming)
- Behavior and psychological functioning
- Bowel and bladder function
- Mobility (including wheelchair mobility)
- Cognitive and intellectual functioning
- Educational functioning
- Speech and language skills
Once we have a thorough understanding of your child’s strengths and challenges, we’ll meet with you and your child to establish goals for treatment. Your ideas about your child’s goals and plan of care are also very important to us.
What is a typical day like?
Your child will have a full daily schedule in CHKD’s Rehabilitation Unit. A typical day might look something like this:
7 a.m. Breakfast
8 a.m Physical Therapy
9 a.m. Hospital School
10 a.m. Speech Therapy
11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Lunch and Rest
1 p.m. Occupational Therapy
2-3 p.m. Rest
3 p.m. Child Life Therapy
A copy of this schedule will be posted on your child's door, so you'll know what to expect each day at the hospital. As you can see from the schedule, rehabilitation is hard work for children. It will be very important for your child to rest during the day between activities. For this reason, the best times for guests (other than parents) to visit is during the evening hours.
Can I stay with my child?
At CHKD, we understand how hard it is for parents and children to be separated. So we make sure that parents feel welcome at all times. You may visit and participate in your children's scheduled therapies any time. Read our "Visiting a Patient" section for more information.
How can I help my child feel comfortable away from home?
Hospitalizations for rehabilitation often last several weeks, so we encourage you to bring photographs, favorite blankets and other mementos that will help make your child's hospital room feel more like home. Each room has a TV in it and VCRs are available to watch favorite videos, but we do insist that TVs be turned off at bedtime so patients can rest. Meals and snacks are provided for the patient, and we also have a refrigerator where you can store favorite foods you bring from home-although this has to be coordinated with your child's nurses. We even have laundry facilities available on the unit.
How can I get more information?
For more information on CHKD's inpatient rehabilitation unit, please call (757) 668-8765. Tours of the unit are available for families, referring physicians and discharge planners.